Connecticut Forensic Lab Found Deficient?

Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Connecticut Department of Public Safety forensic laboratory is at the eye of a storm. A federal review of the lab, its policies and procedures has resulted in a 160-page report highly critical of the lab. Recent DNA tests, the so-called gold standard of the forensic science, must be redone. There will be a change in leadership of the lab. 

Or so I am told by a source with ties to the lab. 

I do not know whether the reports are true, but if you are a criminal defense lawyer practicing in Connecticut and you are facing evidence tested at the laboratory, the existence of this federal report might be the sort of exculpatory evidence you need to win your case.

Here are some questions for Department of Public Safety Commissioner Reuben Bradford:

Is it true that federal investigators have given you a 160-page report highlighting the lab’s shortcomings and requiring the lab to engage in extensive retesting of evidence?

If it is true, in what cases is retesting being done? How far back will the department be looking to retest evidence?

Will an unedited copy of the federal report be released to the public, and, one hopes, posted on the DPS website?

Will notices be sent to each lawyer appearing on behalf of a client against whom the results of questionable tests have been produced?

What efforts are being made to determine the identity of those defendants convicted, either by way of a verdict or a guilty plea, in cases on which the state relied on tainted evidence?

Is it true that there will be a change in leadership of the DNA unit, including the replacement of Dr. Carll Ladd?

Will there be a list of all cases in which Dr. Ladd supervised testing so that defense counsel, including counsel in post-conviction relief claims, can request new tests?

Will the DPS agree to creation of a broad-based commission to review the performance of the forensic crime lab, including members of the criminal defense bar?

Several years ago, the National Academy of Sciences published a report critical of the use of the so-called forensic sciences in criminal cases, referring to much of the work as little more than junk science. At the time, Dr. Ladd was openly contemptuous of the study. Notably lacking from the NAS inquiry were Connecticut contributors. Will the DPS consent to review of Connecticut’s lab by the NAS?

Spread the works, folks. There appears to be trouble in the lab. Our clients deserve answers to these questions, and soon. If the reports of a federal report critical of the lab are untrue, if reports of massive retesting is untrue, then we should be told so.

Comments (5)
Posted on February 6, 2014 at 10:15 pm by tob
as the supervisor of the ID section, I resent any accusation of improrprietry of work that my people ever did.. As far as DNA , mr's ladd and bourke had a business going on that Internal affair knew that wasgoing on but did nothing

Posted on August 10, 2011 at 9:58 am by veteran
Forensic Lab
To be fair, the report was a DNA external audit that is conducted biannually for DNA labs who get grants. The past reports were fine. Could some of the troubles be the result of understaffing? We all have an interest in making sure the science is done well and protecting the innocent. A forensic committee like other states have formed would be a great idea!

Posted on August 9, 2011 at 7:41 am by giuseppe
Deficient Lab
good luck turning any case around, once gov convicts. when the truth hits your eye like a big pizza pie, it's a-gory

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm by william doriss
Deficient Forensics Lab
Surprise! Not the only deficient foresic lab in the country. There was one on Long Island and one in Texas. The Mass. lab is under a cloud. Mr. Ed Grant, convicted at GA 23 on the basis of DNA is an innocent man. Retest the evidence. Let's get it right. One in 10 million, one in twelve million to one, give me a break. Do I look stewpid to you!?! Certainly there are others whose cases need to be revisited.

Posted on August 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm by Just me
How can this be. wink wink
This is not the 1st or the last.
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About Norm Pattis

Norm Pattis is a Connecticut based trial lawyer focused on high stakes criminal cases and civil right violations. He is a veteran of more than 100 jury trials, many resulting in acquittals for people charged with serious crimes, multi-million dollar civil rights and discrimination verdicts, and scores of cases favorably settled.

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I believe that the state is a necessary fiction and that failing to combat it is the first step toward tyranny.
– Norm Pattis


Nothing in this blog should be considered legal advice about your case. You need a lawyer who understands the context of your life and situation. What are offered here are merely suggested lines of inquiry you may explore with your lawyer.

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