A followup on WFAA includes this quote: "The question is: 'Is this for real?'" asked Gary Udashen a Dallas attorney. "Because if this is for real, it's a big deal." ... "If I'm going to trial tomorrow on a criminal case where there's somebody coming in from this crime lab, then I'm going to use this information for cross-examination purposes and perhaps challenge the admissibility of the crime lab evidence," Udashen said.
A forensic biologist who was fired by Dallas County's crime lab said he will file a whistleblower lawsuit against his former employer on Wednesday.
about conditions inside and the overall credibility of the lab.
"I worked there for fourteen months," said Chris Nulf, Ph.D. "I started off in the serology lab which means we analyzed evidence for blood or semen."
Dallas County terminated Nulf in May for insubordination, saying he displayed unsatisfactory progress as a trainee, was unproductive and did not follow procedures at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science, also known as SWIFS.
But in a lawsuit to be filed Wednesday, Nulf says he was terminated for pointing out problems inside the lab, including:
• an outdated protocol manual used by analysts to conduct their daily work
• equipment that isn't calibrated
• analysts using expired chemicals
• criminal case files stored in an unsecured hallway
• a box fan which blew over areas where evidence is examined
"The evidence may have blood flakes on them or hair and fiber on them," Nulf explained. "If you have a box fan going in the background, those fibers could be blown across the evidence, lost forever or cross-contaminated into someone else's evidence."
"From what we've been able to gather, there are high school labs that are cleaner than the lab at SWIFS," added Nulf's attorney, Raul Loya.
Loya said the lawsuit could force the district attorney to review hundreds of cases. "This is evidence that has the power to exonerate a suspect or imprison him for life," he said. "This is a serious matter."
Last week I received several emails from an anonymous source that included pictures corresponding to the allegations in this suit, showing, for example, outdated chemicals, the box fan pointing at an evidence table, layers of dust covering areas around a workspace, and a page from an official-looking "corrective action request" stating that the trace evidence lab had been contaminated with blood. I had no context for the information, and didn't even know which lab they were referencing, but this looks to be the related case. Each photo came in an email that stated, "If you can guess what's wrong with this picture, you're one step ahead of the lab Management." Here are some examples:
Time will tell whether this particular case makes, but after Houston's ignominious experience this'll definitely be one to watch.