The Austin crime lab responsible for testing drugs is now facing its second formal complaint this year. This time, the complaint comes from another crime lab—something officials say is unheard of.
An independent North Texas lab has filed a complaint that the Austin lab is releasing flawed test results, contrary to their own results on the same evidence.
The complaint was filed with the Texas Forensic Science Commission by the Integrated Forensic Laboratories, located in Euless. Austin officials are preparing their response to the complaint, according to the American-Statesman.
The complaint deals with two separate criminal cases, both from 2010. These cases are still pending, so details are not available. But, the crux of the complaint is that the Austin lab is returning results that are not consistent with the results from the Euless lab, and that those results from Austin are the ones that are flawed.
This is the second complaint that the Austin lab has received this year. As we blogged about a few months ago, a former employee of the lab alleged that results were being sent out from Austin with no testing even being done.
The director of the Austin lab, Bill Gibbens, says this latest complaint is nothing more than a “difference of opinion in how we report substances.” He also remarks that this is the first time he’s seen one lab file a complaint on another.
In the cases in question, the Euless lab was used as a second-opinion, requested by the defense in the criminal cases.
The Forensic Commission heard the complaint this week and will determine if a review is necessary when they reconvene in March. The commission has yet to make that same determination in the complaint involving the former employee. In that case, they have asked for additional information from the local police.
Just a few years ago, the department’s DNA forensic lab underwent an in-depth investigation by the FBI and the Department of Public Safety after a former analyst filed a complaint. No problems were found in that investigation.
The integrity of evidence in a criminal case is of the upmost importance. When the courts rely on a lab to release unbiased and scientifically sound results, any question of their integrity should be taken very seriously.
When the validity of lab results is in question, the defense may face a tough battle in trying to prove the lab has shortcomings or produces flawed results. This could be why the defense in this case asked for a second opinion from an independent lab.
Whether you are accused of a drug offense or a more serious violent crime, evidence will make or break the case. Contact an experience Texas attorney today to discuss the details of your case and get the legal help you need.