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Forensic Labs Under Siege

Sep 2nd, 2016 DUI Defense Blood Testing

In Michigan the testing of all blood drawn from people accused of drunk or drugged driving is tested only in this laboratory located near Lansing, Michigan.

Each year, tens of thousands of blood samples are tested in this laboratory, and according to testimony provided at several trials and evidentiary hearings, the State Police Forensic Laboratory in Lansing has never made a mistake.  Is this possible?

It would seem that forensic laboratories across the Country are under siege as the public learns about the shoddy work being done and the abject failure to independently monitor what happens inside these laboratories.  A quick Google search reveals the following articles:

  • Chicago Tribune article that acts as a sort of compendium of many of the problems in forensic laboratories across the country.
  • Detroit News article that talks about the major problems in the Detroit crime lab.
  • Wisconsin Law Journal article discussing the problems with crime labs in that state.

It is interesting to note that none of the examples pertain to DUI cases.  They fail to mention the debacle in Washington over simulator solutions or the current problems in Wisconsin, not to mention the litigation that recently took place in New Jersey, any source code litigation, or any other conceivable issues currently or recently being litigated relative to the prosecution or defense of alleged drunk drivers.

From a scientific perspective it is simply not possible for errors to never occur. Nevertheless, in Michigan it remains to be seen if problems in blood testing in drunk driving cases will be revealed or exposed as they have been in other forensic labs across the Country.

In the meanwhile, one way to decrease suspicion of such problems would be to open the laboratory for the inspection of defense attorneys and/or defense experts.  Thus far the lab is strictly off-limits to such inspections.