Probe finds systemic failures at Nassau crime lab

A report released today by New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben found that systemic problems at the Nassau County Crime Lab went largely undetected

WOODBURY - A report released today by New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben found that systemic problems at the Nassau County Crime Lab went largely undetected and ignored because of failures at nearly all levels of management and oversight.

The probe found that there were inconsistencies in at least 10 percent of drug tests, an amount considered unacceptable for a forensic lab.

Some of the problems at the lab uncovered so far have already impacted charges in criminal cases and cost Nassau millions of dollars to retest evidence.

According to the report, since its creation in 2003, the lab suffered from weak leadership, hired unqualified analysts and used outdated testing equipment and procedures. As a result, in a four-year period, the lab was twice placed on probation.

The crime lab was shut down earlier this year.

The report goes on to say that former County Executive Tom Suozzi deferred oversight of the lab to the police department itself, which proved unreliable, while Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice was uninformed about the lab's problems. Press Release from New York State Inspector General Ellen Biben

Full Report

Nassau DA issues letter to inmates about crime lab errorsNassau DA to retest all felony drug evidence from crime lab

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