Crime Lab Problems Continue to Plague Houston

06.28.10

The Houston Police Department continues to struggle with crime lab errors and problems with poorly trained and unqualified lab technicians. A

recent report from the Houston Chronicle

found a decade of lingering and unaddressed problems in the HPD fingerprint lab, from sloppy tests and procedures to shortcomings in training and technology. These reports come after

years of problems

with the lab’s DNA and firearms sections.

Defense attorney Patrick F. McCann wrote in

an op-ed this weekend

that the problem in Houston’s lab makes clear the need for forensic oversight:

Our leaders should create a regional crime lab, actually run by scientists, perhaps under a university, and not under any elected sheriff or appointed law enforcement officer, that can run actual, neutral and competent forensic testing untainted by pressure and uncorrupted by malfeasance or negligence. The people accused of crimes are owed that much. We as taxpayers are owed that much.

The Innocence Project is a member of the

Just Science coalition

, which supports federal and state support, research and oversight of forensic disciplines in the United States to ensure public safety and prevent wrongful convictions. Learn more about federal forensic reform efforts

here

.

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