Crime Lab Integrity Questioned; May Impact Drug Cases
The St. Paul police chief is promising to fix a crime lab that is no longer testing for drugs.
Chief Thomas Smith has ordered the temporary halt of drug testing at the police crime lab while it undergoes a thorough review.
Earlier this week, public defenders questioned the reliability of the lab's results in a judicial hearing. Attorneys say the lab's staff lack training and protocol.
Right now, at least six drug cases are in dispute. Chief Smith has offered to pay for the independent re-testing of those cases.
However, if questions regarding the integrity of the lab spread to thousands of closed cases, it could mean a second chance for people with drug convictions. Defense attorneys say some of those cases could be re-opened.
Three counties have stopped using the crime lab. Drug samples are now being sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is already dealing with an increased caseload and turn around times.
The chief is not saying how long the review will last. He's also not explaining why he says he just learned of the problem this week - three and a half months after the Dakota County Attorney's Office notified the lab of problems.
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- Drug Testing Suspended at St. Paul Crime Lab
- Crime Lab Integrity Questioned; May Impact Drug Cases