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News Link • Criminal Justice System

Inquiry Condemns Oversight at State Police Crime Lab

• New York Times

The New York State Police’s supervision of a crime laboratory was so poor that it overlooked evidence of pervasively shoddy forensics work, allowing an analyst to go undetected for 15 years as he falsified test results and compromised nearly one-third of his 322 cases, an investigation by the state’s inspector general has found.

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The analyst’s training was so substandard that at one point last year, investigators discovered he did not know how to operate a microscope essential to performing his job, a report released Thursday by the inspector general said.

And when the State Police became aware of the analyst’s misconduct, an internal review by superiors in the lab deliberately excluded information implicating other analysts and suggesting systemic problems with the way evidence was handled, the report said. Instead, the review focused blame mostly on the analyst, Garry Veeder, who committed suicide in May 2008 during the internal inquiry.

“Cutting corners in a crime lab is serious and intolerable,” said the state’s inspector general, Joseph Fisch. “Forensic laboratories must adhere to the highest standards of competence, independence and integrity. Anything less undermines public confidence in our criminal justice system.”

 

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