Houston Police Department has had to reassign one of their crime-scene investigators because an audit revealed 65 errors made in case reports. Many of the cases were related to violent crimes. The situation has caused the District Attorney’s Office to notify all defense lawyers to check any of their cases involving the investigator.
The head of the Harris County Criminal Lawyer Association and partner at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. explains why the DA must move quickly. “There are cases happening in court every day, and we just want to make sure none of those are resolved improperly. And that nobody pleads guilty or goes to trial on cases that may have been affected by some of this evidence.”
These errors haven’t only caused commotion with the criminal justice department, but also the Houston Police Department and the Houston Forensic Science Center. The event has caused HPD to reconsider working with HFSC, which had taken over the forensics of cases since 2014. Houston Police Officer Union head Ray Hunt stated the investigator is being scapegoated to hide the mistakes made by HFSC.
HFSC has responded by stating the audit proves regulations made by HPD were inadequate. They state they’re taking steps to resolve the matter by retraining personnel and increasing the technical capabilities of staff. In addition, they have put the supervisor who overlooked the investigator’s report on temporary leave.