Jonathon Salvador was fired from his job as a drug analyst for Texas Department of Public Safety last year after it was discovered his work was unreliable—that he had falsified results and simply screwed up on numerous cases. But during his tenure he worked on nearly 5,000 cases—all of which could potentially be overturned in the wake of an investigation into his work.
According to Grits for Breakfast, who broke the story that has so-far flown under mainstream media radar, the Texas Forensic Science Commission conducted an investigation into Salvador after another employee of the lab found that he had reported the contents of pills without truly testing them. By that time he had been with the department for about seven years, and handled 4,944 criminal cases.
The investigation revealed that Salvador’s work suffered throughout his tenure. Poor documentation, flawed techniques, and bad decision-making are just a few of his errors. He reportedly struggled with the volume of his caseload and “at times appeared to not fully understand the science behind the work he was assigned.”
Also according to the FSC investigation, the DPS was more than forgiving for Salvador’s errors. He was repeatedly reprimanded, but maintained his position for seven long years. Part of this could be because the agency tolerated less-than-stellar performance simply because they had so much to do and so few people to do it.
So, what’s the impact of nearly 5,000 cases being handled by a by-all-accounts inept analyst? For many, it could mean freedom. After all, it’s not a stretch to think that defendants who were convicted less than 10 or even 5 years ago are still sitting behind bars.
The majority of cases Salvador processed were in southeast Texas, including Houston. Officials in 36 counties are scrambling to determine if they retained the evidence from these cases. If not, they can’t be retested, Salomon’s results can’t be depended upon, and the convictions will likely have to be overturned.
In other words, it has created a big mess.
The integrity of evidence is crucial in getting a just outcome in court. If it was discovered that an analyst falsified drug test results in one case, how many others have gone undiscovered?
If you are charged with a drug crime, it’s the job of your attorney to help ensure your rights are protected. In some situations, this means calling in an outside professional to ensure the substances you are caught with are, in fact, what the police allege.
Contact our offices today if you are charged with drug possession or even drug trafficking.