Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chronic failures of the Nassau County crime lab!

Inspector general finds systemic failures in Nassau Crime Lab procedures, management and oversight

ALBANY - New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben Thursday released an investigative report that found systemic problems at the Nassau County Police Department’s Forensic Evidence Bureau went largely undetected, ignored, or were not properly addressed due to failures at all levels of the lab’s management and oversight – from the laboratory itself, up through the Nassau County Police Department, Nassau County leadership, and ultimately the agency charged with forensic laboratory oversight in New York State, the Commission on Forensic Science.

The Inspector General’s investigation – conducted as per Governor Andrew Cuomo’s February 25, 2011 Executive Order which directed the Inspector General to investigate the oversight and operation of the crime lab – found these compound failures enabled a substandard lab to operate for far too long.

The report found that since its creation in 2003, the lab suffered from weak leadership, a dysfunctional quality management system, analysts with inconsistent training and qualifications, and outdated and incomplete testing equipment and procedures. As a result, in a four-year period, the lab was twice placed on probation by a private accrediting agency, a sanction unprecedented among forensic laboratories in New York State.

“The chronic failures of the Nassau County crime lab deprived Nassau County, the criminal justice system, and the public of their right to have complete and unfettered confidence in forensic testing,” said Biben. “We have recommended an expanded review of the lab’s results – along with other recommendations - to restore that confidence.”

Let the lawsuits begin~ bpb

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