New York State Crime Lab Operations Questioned

In a report from the New York State Police we find that one major crime lab in the state had employed an undertrained and unqualified analyst for 15 years before being found out. The investigation into the lab began in 2008 when problems in the analyst’s work were first suspected.

Analyst Garry Veeder worked in the State lab analyzing trace evidence like hair and carpet fibers found on crime scenes. Although District Attorneys are said to have found no wrongful convictions based on Veeder’s work, the simple lack of consistent competence is certainly a shame and a laugh in the face of justice.

As the New York Times quotes state inspector general Joseph Fisch as saying “Cutting corners in a crime lab is serious and intolerable.” Without adherence to strict guidelines and practices, confidence in the entire system can waver.

How evidence is collected from a crime scene is crucial in many criminal cases. Called the “chain of evidence”, the materials collected sometimes pass from hand to hand and department to department before arriving at a crime lab to be analyzed. At any point if that chain is somehow broken by a disregard for the standards and rules of evidence, the entire criminal case can be put in jeopardy.

Whether the evidence includes drugs found in a vehicle, firearms confiscated after a robbery, or fibers from a murder scene, they must be treated with fully trained and highly capable hands.

While many people involved in Mr. Veeder’s career and training remain employed by the state, Mr. Veeder himself unfortunately committed suicide after the investigation began.

Sadly, new flaws in our criminal justice system are exposed all the time, from false DUI blood test results in Colorado to police in Texas fixing criminal charge statistics.

When facing criminal charges you want to have faith in the criminal justice system. It is difficult to keep that kind of faith when you feel like everyone is out to get you and you are being treated unfairly.

As a defense attorney, it’s my job to ensure the rights of my clients are looked after at every stage of the game, from arrest to sentencing. Contact me today for free legal advice on your NY criminal case.

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