Once again, arrogant, out of control prison officials fail to follow an Order of the Court.
See the preposterous argument made by the prison …”sodium is a necessary nutrient and therefore higher levels of sodium don’t render the diet inadequate.”!
Excerpts from the Article:
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled prison officials aren’t providing inmates with a healthy diet. Justices Michael Cherry, Ron Parraguirre and Lidia Stiglich agreed with inmate Robert Stockmeier that corrections officials failed to report the diet wasn’t healthy and to show standards for determining nutritional adequacy were followed, including the recommended daily allowances and other standards set by the Food and Nutrition board of the National Academy of Medicine. As a result, they write, the record indicates excessive levels of fat and sodium.
They rejected the department’s argument sodium is a necessary nutrient and therefore higher levels of sodium don’t render the diet inadequate.
“The standard proffered does not deem adequate a diet with an unlimited quantity of sodium,” the order states. “It is plain that a nutritionally adequate diet is not simply one that has some quantity of necessary macronutrients as many nutrients that are necessary in small quantities are dangerous in large quantities.”
Despite previous court orders to report proper standards were followed, the justices ruled corrections and the state’s chief medical officer still aren’t showing a standard was followed.
Saying statute doesn’t require corrections to follow a specific standard, they ruled they “must actually apply whatever standard it purportedly relies upon.”
The chief medical officer, they ruled, “failed to show that it’s reporting applied any standards in assessing nutritional adequacy,” and therefore failed to comply with statutory reporting requirements.
Having seen the Delaware D O C ignore the terms of a similar settlement, and having read about other states doing the same* [I tell you again, unless you really know what goes on in our prisons it is hard to believe how out of control they are! 🙁 ], I say let us wait and see where this is two years from now. Will the plaintiffs be in court again to force Colorado to honor the settlement, as has happened too many times in similar cases in America? That won’t surprise me.
States are required by law three different ways to provide “reasonable medical care” to inmates [state statutes, the U S Constitution (Supreme Court cases) and federal law), yet they routinely fail to do so. Hep C has been an epidemic in our prisons for years, and is spread largely by all of the illicit tattooing going on – unsterile tools.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Colorado Department of Corrections will spend $41 million over two years to provide life-saving drugs to 2,200 prisoners who’ve been diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C. The move was approved today, September 12, by the Colorado State Claims board, settling a class-action lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Colorado and Fox Rothschild attorneys, which accused the state of delaying or denying treatment for prisoners battling the potentially deadly virus because of the high cost of the medications involved.
The state is spending $20.5 million in this year’s budget, and the same amount next year, to address a backlog of prisoners who’ve been waiting in line for a new generation of wonder drugs, known as direct-acting antivirals, that virtually eliminate the virus in more than 90 percent of the patients treated. That’s an exponential increase over the $2.8 million the CDOC spent to treat just fifty prisoners for hep C in the previous two years.
As first reported in Westword’s 2016 feature “The Deadliest Killer in Colorado’s Prisons is a Curable Virus,” prison administrators had set up stringent requirements for treatment that amounted to a multi-year obstacle course for inmates suffering from the virus. Partly because of the stigma associated with the bloodborne virus, which is primarily acquired through sharing needles, and partly because of its pervasiveness behind bars (it’s estimated that 17 percent of the national prison population is affected), officials required prisoners to go through months of drug and alcohol classes and have particularly deteriorated livers before they could begin treatment. The severe rationing was also spurred by the fact that the new wonder drugs, when they first debuted, cost as much as $95,000 for a twelve-week regimen.
A Westword review of 823 deaths within the DOC over fifteen years found that 161 of those deaths, nearly one in five of them, were caused by end-stage liver disease and related illnesses. That’s roughly twice the number of suicides behind bars during that same period, three times the number of deaths attributed to drug and alcohol use, and four times the number of homicides. The data provided doesn’t specify how many of the liver-related deaths were the direct result of hep C complications, but the DOC has determined that the virus was a contributing factor in at least eighteen deaths between 2014 and 2016.
Let’ see … what can you expect when you abuse your position of power to force female employees to provide sex? 120 million dollars! No, he should not see a penny of it! Mr. “I made $140 million in the last two years and I’m a TV hotshot so you better “put out”, woman!” Should be utterly disgraced in his firing, and not paid a penny more.
Read this language in the article: ” a negotiated resolution is highly probable,” Eaton said.” Here is what he is talking about: Corporations often justify these wild “severance” payouts to buddies of those holding the purse strings by saying: “We balanced the cost against the probable cost of litigation.” REALLY? SERIOUSLY? Les Moonves is going to sue for the money, where all of his escapades will be more fully disclosed in a court room? I don’t think so!
Excerpts from the Article:
CBS revealed Monday that it set aside $120 million in severance for ousted chief executive Leslie Moonves. But whether he sees a penny of it is one of the tough and potentially incendiary decisions the network faces after his resignation over sexual misconduct accusations. Despite Moonves’ announced exit Sunday, outside lawyers hired by CBS continue to investigate allegations against him and Jeff Fager, the top executive at “60 Minutes.” In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CBS said it will release the severance money if the investigation finds there was no cause for him to be fired.
Any payment to Moonves is likely to anger the #MeToo movement that has brought down other powerful men in Hollywood and the media, including Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein, NBC’s Matt Lauer and CBS’ Charlie Rose.
Meanwhile, Moonves’ wife, Julie Chen, did not appear Monday on the season-opening episode of her daytime show, “The Talk,” and co-host Sharon Osbourne said on the air that “everyone here at CBS is nervous about their jobs.” CBS’ stock price slid.
As head of television’s most popular network, Moonves was among the most powerful and richest executives in the TV industry, making a total of nearly $140 million over the last two years.
His exit was announced hours after The New Yorker posted a detailed story alleging misconduct. In two stories posted this summer, a total of 12 women have said they were mistreated by the TV mogul, including forced oral sex, groping and retaliation if they resisted. Moonves has denied the charges, though he said he had consensual relations with some of the women.
The network’s chief operating officer, Joseph Ianniello, is taking over as president and CEO until a reshaped board of directors can find a permanent replacement, CBS said. David Nevins, chief executive at CBS’ Showtime network, was said to be a leading candidate.
Some of the allegations predate Moonves’ working at CBS, which he joined as entertainment president in 1995. A determination on whether there was cause for his firing will focus on whether he violated any company policies while at CBS, said Dan Eaton, an employment lawyer and expert on severance issues as a professor at San Diego State University.
“If it turns that their reporting comes back with inconclusive findings on Mr. Moonves’ conduct, then a negotiated resolution is highly probable,” Eaton said.
CBS Corp. stock ended the day down 85 cents, or less than 2 percent, after rebounding in the afternoon. The stock has fallen more than 8 percent this year, with its biggest drop when the first round of accusations against Moonves surfaced.
On Monday’s “The Talk,” Osbourne said Chen was taking time off to be with her family. Chen, who is also host of the CBS prime-time show “Big Brother,” has been married to Moonves since 2004.
“He’s not been convicted of any crime, but obviously the man has a problem,” Osbourne said.
Osbourne said she was particularly taken by the story of Phyllis Golden-Gottlieb, who told The New Yorker that Moonves pushed her head into his lap and forced her to perform oral sex when they both worked at the production company Lorimar in the late 1980s. Golden-Gottlieb said Moonves “ruined my career” when she resisted further advances; Moonves strongly denied hurting the careers of any women.
Osbourne said: “How is it when men get power it goes straight to their testicles? I don’t know why, but it’s true.”
The New Yorker also reported Sunday that a former intern at “60 Minutes” three decades ago, Sarah Johansen, said that Fager groped her at a party. Fager is the gatekeeper for the most influential news show on television, and only the second executive producer it has ever had.
Earlier this summer, six former employees told the magazine that Fager had touched employees in ways that made them uncomfortable. Some women said Fager tolerated a workplace where men were protected.
“I really felt like this was one of the most sexist places I’ve ever worked,” Johansen said.
Fager told the magazine that he had encouraged staff to talk to the lawyers investigating “60 Minutes,” and added: “I believe that a fair and open investigation will determine ’60 Minutes’ is a good place where talented women and men thrive and produce some of the finest broadcast journalism in America.”
Reached Monday while on a two-day trip in advance of the show’s season opener later this month, Fager said he had no additional comment. “60 Minutes” has often operated as an island unto itself at CBS News, maintaining separate offices across 57th Street in Manhattan from where most of the news division is headquartered.
As for Fager’s successor if he does not survive the investigation, the show’s No. 2 executive, Bill Owens, is well respected, and veteran “48 Hours” executive producer Susan Zirinsky would be a formidable candidate from outside the show but inside CBS.
Letter to the Editor or Editorial Submission – So Much Ink, So Much Blood – 9/10/18 kra
At least twice a month I see an article or an editorial calling for “the” way to end the crazy, deadly shootings on city streets. The latest piece called for the clergy to become more involved in high crime areas. Before that it was “revive the street crimes unit” of the police department. And before that it was calls for more “community policing” and for “zero tolerance” law enforcement … and the list goes on.
I shall repeat what I have been “shouting from the rooftops” for six years: none of these will solve the problem. There is only one way to greatly reduce crime, and the mayhem and the cost of the violence: end the “war on drugs”. At least one person has been listening to my “shouting”: Delaware’s likely next Attorney General, Kathleen Jennings, now agrees with this proposition.
It is long past time to undo all of the lies, the myths, the misinformation, and the outright propaganda put out by numerous government agencies – local, state, and federal – over the last 40 years in order to fuel the war on drugs. Public officials should learn and share (it’s called “leadership”) the FACTS, examine countries where ending this futile war has produced dramatic positive results, and thus really do something to reduce crime! We need less ink discussing ineffective suggestions, and a lot more ink to correct the tragically flawed record of the last 40 years. Then, and only then, will we see much less blood.
I urge you to publish this excellent chart, which states most of the facts, with this letter:
Ken Abraham, founder of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE, Deputy Attorney General, 1974-1979, Dover, DE 302-423-4067
I get lots of letters published, and ghost write for others. THIS IS THE BEST WAY TO REACH THOUSANDS OF READERS! The keys to getting your Letter published are:
1. Keep it to 250 words or fewer.
2. Do not make it about “poor little old me”. Describe the problem as one which not only affects the individual, but is a senseless or ineffective measure, policy, or law which also harms communities and society. For example, with reentry, the obstacles make it unnecessarily difficult for the individual, but also harm society by making it hard to become productive, spending money and paying taxes in the community, and they cause increased recidivism = increased crime.
3. Speak from your heart.
4. Google any facts you are not sure about.
5. Do not name-call.
Do what works: Write that Letter!
Letter to Editor – sign name, town, state, and your phone number (they often call to verify that you sent it), and “Member of Citizens for Criminal JUSTICE” if you like – shows you are part of a large group.
Send the email to yourself, and put on the “bcc” bar the email addresses for Letters to the Editor for the top ten newspapers in your state and several national ones – The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, U S A Today (google the Letter to Editor email addresses). Any questions, CALL me at 302-423-4067!
GOOGLE THE EMAIL ADDRESSES FOR “LETTERS TO THE EDITOR” FOR THE TOP TEN NEWSPAPERS IN YOUR STATE AND SAVE THAT INFORMATION FOR REPEATED USE – Some papers will print a letter from you every 2 weeks, some every 30 days, some every 90 days. They have varying policies. But if you really want to make a difference shoot them a new letter once a month! I send one out every 2 weeks.
Need a Letter on some criminal justice issue and not a great letter writer? NO EXCUSE! Email me a rough draft and call me and I’ll polish it up! email@example.com .
ANY QUESTIONS, CALL ME AT 302-423-4067.
This “little old lady” is more than worthy of being the pop icon which she is! She is a gem. She is a legal genius. Many men, as well as women, have benefited from her wisdom as a Justice on our highest Court.
What a great line for women’s rights: “All I ask of our brethren is tha they take their feet off our necks”!
YOU really should watch the documentary to understand her courage, her genius, and the importance of her work!
If you do not know who she is, you should watch the CNN Film: “RBG”
THIS “little old lady” is a giant! 🙂
I (computer moron that I am) cannot find the documentary online. Perhaps you can. Or order it from Netflix. She is a modern marvel!
This is the kind of horrific stuff that goes on in our prisons. Just as horrific, in a less dramatic way, is the abominable “health care” in our prisons. YOU should speak out about it. READ Prison Abuse – Why Massive Indifference is a Massive Mistake – kra
Who do you think is paying for all of the litigation and investigation that will come from this incident and thousands of other preventable abuses? YOU, the taxpayer, are paying billions, yes billions, of dollars needlessly!
Excerpts from the Article:
Tony Howard of Moss Point is serving time in prison on a manslaughter conviction — but that doesn’t give anyone the right to throw gasoline on him and set him on fire, his mother said.
An inmate serving a life prison sentence severely burned Howard on Aug. 3 at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, said his mother, Linda Howard. “I’m very disturbed,” she said. “I’m very hurt that my child suffers. Just imagine getting burned from grits or a curling iron. But gas thrown on you and being set on fire? How did this happen?”
SMCI is the prison that twice-convicted killer Michael Floyd Wilson, known as “Pretty Boy Floyd,” escaped on July 5. Wilson, who was in prison for the murders of two men in Harrison County, was caught two days later in Jackson County.
Linda Howard said someone left a message on her phone Aug. 5, saying her 32-year-old son had been set on fire with gas by another inmate, identified by the caller as Albert Wilson, on Aug. 3. Howard said a medical officer confirmed Howard had been burned, but she has been unable to speak to the warden or her son.
Howard’s condition is not available. He was moved to the Z Unit, the designation for an inmate in a hospital, on Aug. 7.
That’s the day Donna Howard said a chaplain called and asked her to visit her son at a Jackson burn center. “That’s like telling the mother of an inmate he’s about to die,” she said. “Then I get a call telling me the visit is canceled. I don’t know anything about how he’s doing.”
MDOC is releasing no details. “Because this is an ongoing investigation with information subject to change, the department’s practice is to not release specifics,” MDOC Communications Director Grace Fisher said. “Upon completion of the investigation, if the department believes charges are merited, the case will be referred to a prosecutor’s office.”
Howard was convicted of manslaughter in Jackson County on May 4, 2009. A jury found him guilty of fatally shooting Lorenzo Nettles at the Touch of Class on Feb. 16, 2008. Nettles was trying to intervene in an argument between Howard and another man when Howard’s gun went off, documents show.
Howard has 7 1/2 years to finish on a 20-year sentence. His tentative release date is March 3, 2026, prison records show.
More than a week after being notified of her son’s injuries, Linda Wilson said she has still heard nothing about his condition or details on how and why he got burned. She wants to know how the alleged assailant obtained gasoline and how prison staff allowed it to happen. “He didn’t just go to the store and get some gasoline,” Howard said.
Mississippi has three state prisons, 15 county-run regional jails and three private prisons.
Does your Soul Have a Hole?
Does your soul,
Have a hole?
Is your heart icy cold?
Do you bully, thinking you are bold?
Have you told so many lies it is hard to keep count?
Do you view loyalty to yourself as paramount?
Are you wasting taxpayers’ money in obscene amounts?
Do you hide your money in dummy corporations and trust accounts?
If the answer is yes to all of the above,
You might be HE who is among the most unloved:
kra 9/10/18 Why is this posted here? Because tRump is a disaster for our criminal justice system!
Dan Rather nails Trump for being ‘mean as a wolverine’: It’s the first time in history we’ve had a president like it
Yes, and his meanness is reflected in his criminal justice policies – increased use of private prisons, very few pardons (excluding those which he thinks will help save his scalp, another abuse of the process), few Clemency applications granted, and the deliberate, intentional tearing children from their parents we now are so familiar with. He has got to GO if America is to see the many reforms and improvements so badly needed in this huge industry called our criminal justice system.
Veteran newsman Dan Rather told CNN’s Don Lemon that he’s never seen a president in history that was outright “mean.” During a Monday interview, Rather noted that we’ve had presidents who haven’t been very good at their jobs, one of which who committed illegal act…
The post Dan Rather nails Trump for being ‘mean as a wolverine’: It’s the first time in history we’ve had a president like it appeared first on Raw Story.
As more immigrants wear monitors, effectiveness is disputed – Just More Money for Wealthy Investors – kra
With all of the criticism about the many drawbacks of private prisons, those companies – CoreCivic and GEO being the biggest – are turning to other ways to make money. Here we see them making millions of dollars with an ineffective contraption.
What this article does not mention, and what most people don’ know, is a subject I have given talks on: ICE “detention centers” run by these companies – are prisons where abuse abounds! Rape of women and children by staff, beatings, virtually NO medical care … they are the worst in America.
Does tRump himself own stock in these companies? Could well be. I bet many of his colleagues do; the stocks soared in value after tRump took office and undid the federal plan to dump private prisons!
Excerpts from the Article:
Federal authorities’ shift away from separating immigrant families caught in the U.S. illegally now means that many parents and children are quickly released, only to be fitted with electronic monitoring devices — a practice which both the government and advocacy groups oppose for different reasons.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is issuing thousands of 5.5-ounce (155-gram) ankle monitors that immigrants call grilletes, or electronic shackles, spelling big profits for GEO Group, the country’s second largest private prison contractor.
Government officials say the devices are effective in getting people to show up to immigration court, but that they stop working once deportation proceedings begin. The reason, according to attorneys and people who wore the devices or helped monitor those wearing them: Some immigrants simply ditch them and disappear.
Immigrant advocates and legal experts argue, meanwhile, that the devices — which are commonly used for criminal parolees — are inappropriate and inhumane for people seeking U.S. asylum. The American Bar Association has called doing so “a form of restriction on liberty similar to detention, rather than a meaningful alternative to detention.”
Congress first established the program in 2002, though GPS monitors grew more common as deportations rose to record levels under President Barack Obama’s administration, averaging more than 385,000 annually from 2008-2012. Their use increased even more after 2014, when thousands of unaccompanied minors and families began traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border and asking for asylum, fleeing gang and drug smugglers or domestic violence in Central America.
Earlier this year, immigrant families were separated as part of a “zero tolerance” program. But President Donald Trump reversed that policy with an executive order in June, meaning reunited families are being treated like other asylum seekers. They’re usually detained for a few days, then issued ankle monitors and released to live with friends or relatives already in the U.S. as they progress through a process that can take years. As of early July, there were nearly 84,500 active participants in ICE’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program, or alternatives to detention — more than triple the number in November 2014. Around 45 percent of those were issued GPS monitors, 53 percent report by phone using biometric voice verification and 2 percent use facial recognition apps.
ICE spokesman Matthew Bourke said immigration court attendance is strong for immigrants in intensive supervision, but that ankle monitors and other measures are “not an effective tool” after deportation orders are issued. There isn’t reliable information on the number of ankle monitor recipients who remove them and flee — especially when deportation is imminent — but experts say it’s high.
“People can just cut those things off if they want to,” said Sara Ramey, a San Antonio immigration attorney whose asylum-seeking clients are routinely assigned ankle monitors. “It doesn’t really ensure compliance.”
The most recent available data was in 2012, when a contractor’s annual report (later referenced in a 2015 Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report) showed that 17,524 people, or around 65 percent of nearly 40,500 total participants, left the intensive supervision program that year. Of those, around a fifth were deported or granted asylum, while about 5 percent “absconded.” The rest were arrested, violated other program rules or were no longer required to participate for unspecified reasons — which made determining the program’s true success rate impossible.
Many in the Trump administration see alternative to detention programs as undermining their larger goal of keeping immigrants in custody, which helps resolve court cases faster and leads to more deportations.
Officials wanted to keep families in detention until their cases were completed, but a federal agreement on the handling of children in government custody generally prevents youngsters from being detained longer than 20 days. In the meantime, ankle monitors and other alternatives to detention programs resulted in 2,430 people being deported from the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, Bourke said. That’s an average cost of $75,360 per deportation. Overall spending on alternatives to detention rose to $183 million for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2017, up from $91 million in 2014, Bourke said. In the same period, the number of deportations for people in the program only increased by 273, from 2,157 to 2,430 — or only about 1 percent of the more than 226,000 people ICE deported over the same period, Bourke said.
ICE’s average length of stay in immigration detention is about 40 days, while the average length of time for immigrants not in custody to have immigrant cases on court dockets is more than eight years. Though daily costs are lower when releasing immigrants with electronic monitoring rather than keeping them in custody, the average cost of detention is about $5,500, compared to $16,000 for someone who is released but remains under surveillance for years, the Trump administration says.
That’s a key reason why ankle monitors have been a boon to Boca Raton, Florida-based GEO Group, which in 2010 acquired Behavioral Interventions Inc. of Boulder, Colorado, for $410 million. A year earlier, Behavioral Interventions had secured ICE’s first nationwide supervision contract for immigrants in the country illegally. GEO signed an intensive supervision contract in 2014 that has been re-negotiated several times and is set to expire in November.
GEO says, under its contract, it must refer all questions to ICE.
When Forensic Evidence Goes Bad A whole cottage industry has been built around hair, blood, and bite-mark analyses—but what happens when it puts the wrong people in jail?
I have written several articles about this very problem. The “experts” in these cases are among the 29 people who benefit financially when one person is arrested, and because nobody – judge, prosecutor – has time to do things properly because of our “war on drugs”*, they are the cause of considerable injustice.
*READ How the “War on Drugs” has Destroyed Justice!
Excerpts from the Article:
“(It is better) that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.” It was the 18th-century English jurist Sir William Blackstone who first coined this theoretical basis of criminal justice, and it’s a principle with which a majority of Americans agree.
Unfortunately, far too many criminal convictions have been overturned due to false evidence, including what is often considered to be gospel—forensic evidence.
Forensic science is a fundamental tool of the criminal justice system. However, a growing number of scandals have illustrated that not everyone in this field is qualified or immune to systemic bias. And as research continues to develop, some forms of forensic science have been proven to be, well, unreliable.
Science as a law enforcement tool has become wildly popular over the last two decades—from its pervasiveness in higher education criminal justice programs to its persistent presence in media culture (see: NCIS and its spinoffs). But its credibility has nonetheless been an issue for many years. For example, former FBI agent Frederic Whitehurst, who began working in the bureau’s crime lab in 1994, immediately noticed that many of the staffers were not qualified to conduct scientific analysis. He subsequently became a whistleblower and exposed that many FBI staffers had falsely testified about the level of their expertise and reliability of their evidence.
Whitehurst’s dogged quest for upholding the integrity of the system led to his ouster in 1998. His efforts resulted in some internal reforms, but many of the systemic problems appear unresolved more than 20 years later.
Meanwhile, in 2015, the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released an alarming report that found a 90 percent error rate in 500 FBI cases that the team reviewed. Remarkably, 26 out of 28 FBI hair analysis “experts” provided erroneous statements. Worst of all, several people were executed as a result of this evidence. Of the 35 cases that ended in a death penalty sentencing, 33 included erroneous statements from FBI staff.
TV and movies have promoted another type of forensic science—bite mark analysis–whose validity numerous studies have nullified. Among them is one by the Obama administration’s Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2016.
Popular culture also loves to promote bloodstain pattern analysis as being foolproof, but it’s anything but. Even experts with years of training at times disagree on the conclusions from this evidence. In May of this year, ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine extensively reviewed Joe Bryan’s 1986 murder conviction. A jury had found that Bryan murdered his wife, in large part due to testimony by a police investigator with a 40-hour training certificate in bloodstain-pattern analysis.
Bryan was convicted despite there being an alibi, character witnesses, and physical evidence that suggested his innocence. In the aftermath, several experts with far more experience rebutted the bloodstain-pattern testimony and concluded that there should have been a retrial.
With that said, this case isn’t a one-off. There are many police investigators who testify as bloodstain-pattern experts despite possessing only cursory training certificates.
This is one of several examples of how faulty forensics have forced innocent people into prison. To be exact, false or misleading forensic science is responsible for 24 percent of the 2,258 exonerations that have occurred in this country since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations.
As a proactive measure, the Obama administration formed the National Commission on Forensic Science in 2013 to improve standards. However, Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions decided last year to discontinue the commission.
This was not an isolated incident. Scandals in other cities vary by degrees of incompetence and deceit but the general theme more or less involves unqualified staff and/or biased analysts.
An audit from two years ago of the crime lab in Austin, Texas, found that one tech with nearly 5,000 drug cases under his belt had “a lack of understanding of chemistry” and a 33 percent error rate. Regardless, he received a promotion due to limited staffing.
One year earlier, it was revealed that the San Francisco crime lab had a criminologist who withheld DNA evidence linked to the likely killer in a 2010 double homicide case. That’s just one of multiple issues at that lab—two criminologists there failed national proficiency tests and a technician stole large amounts of cocaine back in 2010.
We need to heed the words of Sir William Blackstone because the evils of punishing the innocent are far worse than letting the guilty go free. Right now we seem to have a system that assumes the opposite—and unfortunately forensic evidence, regarded as unimpeachable by so many, is part of the problem.