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Texas Department Public Safety Lab Scandal – Cases Thrown Out

Nearly 5,000 cases “may all be jeopardized” by DPS lab worker misconduct

Gritsforbreakfast (the best blog on Texas criminal law) reports that potentially all of the 4,944 cases worked by a since-discredited DPS crime lab worker may be thrown out, and this morning an appellate case summary posted at the prosecutors’ association agreed that those cases “may all be jeopardized.”

Ex parte Sereal

No. AP 76,972 3/6/13 (per curiam; substitute opinion)

Issue:

Was the defendant entitled to habeas relief because the lab technician solely responsible for testing the evidence in his case was found to have committed misconduct?

Holding:

Yes. Although there is evidence remaining that is available to be retested in this case, that evidence was in the custody of the unreliable lab technician. Because the technician committed misconduct and his actions are unreliable, custody was compromised and resulted in a due process violation.

 

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