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District Attorney Alerts Defense Bar to Possible Discrepancies in Lab Results

(SAN DIEGO) San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis said yesterday a letter is being sent to defense attorneys in San Diego County apprising them of concerns from a toxicology lab about incorrect test results connected to some criminal cases, primarily misdemeanor cases.

“When we are told of potential problems like this, we alert the defense bar and work quickly to determine the potential scope and any impact it may have on cases,” said DA Dumanis. “Just as we have done in the past, we will investigate thoroughly and share the findings with the appropriate parties as soon as possible.”

The Southern California-based lab recently alerted San Diego County law enforcement about potential problems with a small number of toxicology test samples and test results from June and July of this year.

In April of this year, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office responded quickly to a similar situation when it alerted defense attorneys about the work of a lab technician from Riverside County who admitted to falsifying reports during his work at a lab in Colorado. In that case, the DA’s Office also sent a letter to defense attorney organizations to inform them about the former lab technicians work history and criminal record.

Also this year, the DA’s Office reviewed dozens of taped police interviews of suspects and witnesses that a police officer withheld in several criminal cases. Eventually, 37 tapes were identified and are now being turned over to defense attorneys to evaluate in the context of their cases.

“As prosecutors, we often are required to deal with issues that are beyond our control but affect our cases. When that happens, it’s our ethical duty in the interest of justice to fully investigate and disclose these issues in a timely manner,” said DA Dumanis.

The District Attorney’s Office will have no further public comment until the results of the investigation are complete.