Public Defender Jeff Adachi Says D.A. Kamala Harris Blowing Off Crime Lab Scandal — and Him

San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi sharply criticized District Attorney Kamala Harris' handling of a growing scandal at the San Francisco Police Department crime lab today, saying the city's top prosecutor had ignored repeated requests to meet with him and failed to disclose the full extent of problems at the lab.

“Anytime I've asked the District Attorney for a meeting, I've been told the District Attorney is out of town or not available,” Adachi said, noting that Harris had initially scheduled — but then canceled — a meeting when the Public Defender's office first learned of alleged tampering with drug samples by lab technician Deborah Madden. “We need a District Attorney who will give this the attention it deserves.”

The remarks came at a press conference Adachi held in the wake of a judge's order yesterday that prosecutors turn over thousands of pages of documents about Madden and problems at the crime lab's narcotics unit. The records include the transcript of an internal police interview with Madden wherein she described startlingly sloppy protocols for measuring drug weights — an important factor in criminal sentencing — and stated that she and other lab technicians routinely “just laughed” at testing errors.

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