Saturday, April 11, 2009

Evidence Integrity -- NOT reports from Denver:

What a former laboratory technician said he did while working at a lab in Broomfield could call thousands of Colorado court cases into question.

Prosecutors in California are already reviewing more than 8,000 cases he might have worked on there, after a defense attorney found information about the technician's credibility.

"We are just in the early stages of figuring out the scope of what this man did," said Brian Connors, chief deputy at the Office of the Colorado Public Defender.

Thirty-year-old Aaron C. Layton worked at Forensic Laboratories in Broomfield in 2000 and 2001. The company has since relocated to Denver. It does drug and alcohol toxicology tests for numerous law enforcement agencies, county probation departments and even private businesses. While working at the lab, Layton testified in trials in Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Weld Counties, and possibly others.

After Layton left the Colorado lab, employment records show he applied for a job with the police department in Columbus, Ohio in 2003. He failed the first polygraph
test. He then passed the second polygraph in which he admitted that while working at Forensic Laboratories, he never conducted second tests to confirm results. Layton said he claimed he did the confirmatory tests on his reports and said he even lied about it when on the stand.

The integrity of forensic evidence is fundamental to public trust in the judgments of our criminal system. In our son's case, crucial evidence became altered while in the state's possession, yet prosecutors were allowed to center their case on it. In George Orwell's classic work, 1984, the Ministry of Truth worked 24/7 to ensure that all recorded facts were adjusted to remain consistent with what authorities deemed to be the current reality. One has to wonder where our current reality is headed.

No comments: