Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Colorado Springs Crime Lab-Another Case of Sloppy Testing

Red substance in half filled test tubeImage by Horia Varlan via Flickr

Another day, another crime lab making sloppy errors that deprive innocent people of their liberty. This time it's the Colorado Springs crime lab. In April, the Colorado Springs crime lab errors were disclosed to the public. It was revealed that the results of an internal investigation revealed that 167 tests were flawed in 2009 and discovered 39 more flawed tests from 2007. All of the errors were the work of a chemist who had since left the department. District Attorney Dan May explained that "only" 9 of the 206 faulty tests actually affected the rights of those accused of committing a crime. In other words, only 9 people that we know of--people who were potentially innocent of any crime--had their lives ruined because of the egregious errors of Colorado Springs lab technician. Questions still remain following the announcement of the massive string of errors, as explained in this article from the Colorado Springs Independent:

Senior chemist Bobby Striebel frankly says he can't explain how a colleague of seven years made mistakes that boosted the alcohol content of some blood samples by more than 40 percent.

"The error was very difficult to identify," he says, with no apparent pattern or equipment failure to explain.

The lingering uncertainty is uncomfortable. Tim Bussey, a Colorado Springs defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases, puts it bluntly: "If they never really identified the problem, how do they fix it?"

These tests were caused by human error or malfeasance. Who knows how many errors are caused by faulty equipment or materials. The bottom line: blood and breath testing for DUIs is a horribly inaccurate "science" for any number of reasons. The continuing pattern of errors in labs across the country is simply further evidence of that fact. Perfection isn't possible and it's not required, but predictable accuracy is. Until that standard is met, innocent people will be convicted of drinking and driving offenses and injustice will continue to reign supreme. Visit Americas Top DUI and DWI Attorneys at or call 1-800-DIAL-DUI to find a DUI OUI DWI Attorney Lawyer Now!
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