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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Latest in Crime Lab Backlash: District Attorney Creates 'Trial Integrity Unit'

Posted By on Tue, Jun 1, 2010 at 4:15 PM

click to enlarge Meanwhile, down at the crime lab...
  • Meanwhile, down at the crime lab...

In the latest step -- there are, presumably, 12 -- back from the Deborah Madden scandal at the crime lab, District Attorney Kamala Harris has created a special in-house unit. The newly formed group will review cases in which prosecutors didn't reveal prior misconduct of law enforcement personnel involved.

Named the Trial Integrity Unit, the staff attorneys will review cases that involved Madden and Ann Marie Gordon, a civilian employee of the medical examiner's office. That Gordon was labeled a "perpetrator of fraud" by a Washington State court was yet another recent surprise announcement from the DA's office. The team will review "the impact of expected disclosures of law enforcement misconduct on prior convictions." Here's a prediction of the impact: Defense attorneys' Valhalla. When your drug lab is on drugs, it reflects poorly upon the prosecution.

After the Madden scandal exposed the DA's lack of a formalized protocol to release criminal backgrounds to defense attorneys, Harris hurriedly implemented a number of changes. That included belatedly implementing such a policy; bringing in former Iran-Contra prosecutor John Keker -- a longtime Harris political donor -- as an advisor on such disclosures;  and working with the Board of Supervisors to create an independent narcotics testing program outside of the police department.

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Lauren Smiley

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