Applicant contends that his due process rights were violated because a forensic scientist did not follow accepted standards when analyzing evidence and therefore the results of his analyses are unreliable. The State and the trial court agreed that relief was warranted before remand, but the record was insufficient to decide the case at that time. This Court remanded the application to obtain more information. Specifically, the Court needed three additional pieces of information to resolve this case: (1) a copy of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) report Applicant was relying on for his claim; (2) a determination that the lab technician named in that report was the only scientist that worked on this sample; and (3) a finding as to whether the sample was destroyed or could be retested. The trial court has now provided this Court with all the information necessary to resolve this case on the merits. The DPS report shows that the lab technician who was solely responsible for testing the evidence in this case is the scientist found to have committed misconduct, and the evidence in this case has been destroyed and therefore cannot be retested. Applicant is therefore entitled to relief.Relief was granted in another Galveston case, as well, in a non-published opinion. What's most astonishing: At a meeting of the Forensic Science Commission last month, it was estimated that evidence had similarly been destroyed in 25-50% of the nearly 5,000 cases the now-terminated lab analyst had worked on, meaning hundreds more cases may be overturned before all is said and done. The analyst performed tests in cases from 36 counties - 1,281 of them from Montgomery County alone.
This story hasn't received much traction in the MSM so far, mainly because the big papers no longer routinely send reporters to cover the activities of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, which has been reviewing details of the episode. I'll bet that changes, though, now that defendants are starting to walk out of prison based on the lab worker's alleged incompetence. What a fiasco!