CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"New York Examines Over 800 Rape Cases for Possible Mishandling of Evidence"

From the New York Times:

The errors, Dr. Prinz said in an interview, involved reporting false negatives, not false positives. “We do know that nobody was wrongfully convicted,” she added.

But in the course of reviewing the technician’s work, supervisors quickly discovered another problem. Sixteen pieces of evidence, generally swabs contained in sealed paper envelopes, were found in the wrong rape kit, commingling DNA evidence from 19 rape investigations, according to a letter from the medical examiner’s office.

“Our guess is the technician had both kits open at the same time, and when she was reassembling the case files, evidently she had misplaced the evidence items from one kit to another,” Eugene Lien, a quality assurance manager with the medical examiner’s office, told a state oversight board last year. It was not “standard policy at all,” he added, for a technician to have two cases open at once.

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