Nassau crime lab scandal puts DWI conviction in jeopardy

MINEOLA - In the wake of the closing of the Nassau County crime lab's narcotics section over uncovered deficiencies in testing certain drugs, a judge has been asked to throw out a guilty verdict in a DWI case.

Last December, Erin Marino, a teacher from Hicksville, was convicted of aggravated vehicular assault. She was found guilty of drunken driving and injuring four people, one seriously.

The conviction came after the Nassau County crime lab claimed she had blood-alcohol content three times the legal limit.

This morning, an assistant district attorney admitted in court that the lab's blood-alcohol testing equipment used to convict Marino had not been calibrated since 2007.

Now, Marino's lawyer, Brian Griffin, says the lab's findings can't be trusted and he wants his client's guilty verdict set aside.

The acting Nassau police commissioner says he has high confidence in the Nassau crime lab's blood-alcohol testing procedures, but Griffin disagrees, saying it's time the county opened a new crime lab.

The hearing in Marino's case will continue tomorrow. Judge George Peck is expected to reach a decision later this month.

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