Unfounded why 07.10.2010
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Unfounded why 07.10.2010 Unfounded why 07.10.2010 Presentation Transcript

  • Unfounded Why? A Review of Protocol and Practice Vulnerabilities in a Dallas County Crime Lab The information presented herein was obtained by Public Information Act (Open Records) requests, reliable internet sources, and documentation from forensic biologists from within the lab itself. Click to advance
  • The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (aka SWIFS or The Dallas County Crime Lab) The Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences Crime Laboratory (SWIFS) is an independent, fee-for-services laboratory, and is a division of The Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (the other division is the Office of the Medical Examiner.) The Laboratory was established by the Dallas County Commissioners Court in a joint effort with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSWMC). The laboratory, located at 5230 Medical Center Drive, provides services primarily in the Dallas County area of Texas. The Laboratory provides services in the disciplines of Controlled Substances, Toxicology, Biology, Firearms/Toolmarks and Trace Evidence. The laboratory has a staff of approximately fifty (50) testifying analysts and fifteen (15) support staff. Laboratory Director and Chief Medical Examiner, Jeffrey J. Barnard, M.D. reports to the Dallas County Commissioners Court and the Chair of the Pathology Department of UTSWMC. Chief of Physical Evidence, Tim Sliter, Ph.D., and Deputy Chief of Physical Evidence, Stacy McDonald, Ph.D., are the Management responsible for overseeing the personnel, security, proper analysis, and storage of all incoming evidence into the Forensic Biology Unit (FBU). Approximately 16 FBU analysts screen crime scene related evidence for blood, semen, and DNA. “The Management” Dr. Tim Sliter began employment at SWIFS circa early 1998. Dr. Stacy McDonald began employment at SWIFS circa late 2003. Click to advance
  • SWIFS’s Management Violations 1. Good Laboratory (Scientific) Practices – use of expired chemicals; general uncleanliness; questionable ethics. 2. SWIFS Institute Policies – altered SOP; altered documentation; unsecured case files; questionable ethics; biased analysis. 3. ASCLD/LAB Accreditation Policies – altered SOP; unsecured case files; countless others. 4. Dallas County Code – employee 3- ,6-, and 12-month Performance Reviews neglected; questionable ethics. 5. Texas Law (potentially) – Document forgery; uploading of “unknown DNA profiles” generated from forensic case work into SDIS which could actually be lab employee DNA profiles (as a result of inadvertent contamination). 6. Federal Law (potentially) – Document forgery; uploading of “unknown DNA profiles” generated from case work into CODIS which could actually be lab employee DNA profiles (as a result of inadvertent contamination). Failure to recognize and correct these violations is collectively a result of poor and unprofessional management (including lying), untrained analysts, lack of adequate internal audit procedures and reporting, and incomplete and inefficient external audits by ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Officials. Click to advance
  • Ironically, these plaques are found in numerous locations throughout SWIFS. Click to advance
  • Strangely, this is the extent of information available for SWIFS’s forensic services to the public. Further information requires a phone call. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Organizational Chart Dr. Jeffrey Barnard Director/ Chief Medical Examiner Cathy Self Forensics Operations Karen Young Quality Manager Timothy Sliter, Ph.D. Chief of Physical Evidence/ DNA Technical Leader Stacy McDonald, Ph.D. Deputy Chief of Physical Evidence/ Acting Forensic Biology Supervisor 2 Analysts Forensic Biologist III 14 Analysts Forensic Biologist II (as of 02.01.2009) Click to advance
  • SWIFS Personnel Dr. Jeffrey Barnard Director/ Chief Medical Examiner Cathy Self Forensics Operations Karen Young Quality Manager Timothy Sliter, Ph.D. Chief of Physical Evidence/ DNA Technical Leader Stacy McDonald, Ph.D. Deputy Chief of Physical Evidence/ Acting Forensic Biology Supervisor 2 Analysts Forensic Biologist III (1 trainee - ) 14 Analysts Forensic Biologist II (5 trainees - ) (as of 02.01.2009) UNITS: Forensic Biology Unit (Serology and DNA) Firearms and Toolmarks Trace Evidence Toxicology Controlled Substances Blood Alcohol Medical Examiners Field Agents (Death Investigators) Click to advance
  • FBU analysts risk committing perjury because SWIFS does not use reliable principles and methods Summary of Functions: Provides basic oversight of routine Laboratory operations; reviews and approves final reports; testifies to work of others as supervising/senior scientist; provides advanced instrumental and procedural assistance to the Laboratory; interfaces with submitters and the judicial system to resolve routine sample submission, analysis, and interpretation issues; leads new employee training; performs the duties of a laboratory analyst. Click to advance
  • FBU analysts risk committing perjury because SWIFS does not use reliable principles and methods Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 129 S.Ct. 2527 (2009), is a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that it was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation for a prosecutor to submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the scientist. While the court ruled that the then-common practice of submitting these reports without testimony was unconstitutional, it also held that so called "notice-and-demand" statutes are constitutional. A state would not violate the Constitution through a "notice-and-demand" statute by both putting the defendant on notice that the prosecution would submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the scientist and also giving the defendant sufficient time to raise an objection. Federal Rules of Evidence 702, an expert is a person with “scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge" who can "assist the trier of fact,” which is typically a jury. A qualified expert may testify “in the form of an opinion or otherwise” so long as: “(1) the testimony is based upon sufficient facts or data, (2) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods, and (3) the witness has applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.” Exonerations in the United States 1989 Through 2003 S.R. GROSS, K. JACOBY, D.J. MATHESON, N. MONTGOMERY and S. PATIL THE JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY Vol. 95, No. 2 (2005) Northwestern University, School of Law “Overall, we found 340 exonerations… …In five of the exonerations that we have studied there are reports of perjury by police officers. In an additional twenty-four we have similar information on perjury by forensic scientists testifying for the government...” Click to advance
  • FBU analysts risk Expert Witness Malpractice lawsuits because SWIFS does not use reliable principles and methods LLMD of Michigan, Inc. v. Jackson-Cross Co, 740 A.2d 186 (Pa. 1999) – The Pennsylvania Supreme Court found that witness immunity did not bar professional malpractice suits when the allegations of negligence were not premised on the substance of expert’s testimony but were premised on the expert’s negligent preparation in reaching conclusions offered at trial, or on the expert’s use of a faulty methodology. Witness immunity should not protect expert witness who do not “render services to the degree of care, skill, and proficiency commonly exercised by the ordinarily skillful, careful and prudent members of their profession.” Murphy v. A.A. Mathews, 841 S.W.2d 671 (Mo. 1992) - The Missouri Supreme Court held that privately retained professionals who negligently provide litigation-related support services should not be covered by witness immunity. That protection should only cover defamation suits and retaliatory actions against adverse witnesses, the court said. (Murphy v. A.A. Mathews, 841 S.W.2d 671.) Levine v. Wiss & Co., 97 N.J. 242, 478 A.2d 397 (1984) - The court has held that even a court-appointed expert is not immune from liability for deviating from the applicable accepted professional standards. the standard of reasonable care used for most professionals was applicable. Mattco Forge Inc. v. Arthur Young & Co., 5 Cal. App. 4th 392, 6 Cal.Rptr.2d 781 (Ct. App. 1992) - The court ruled in that applying the [immunity] privilege “...does not encourage witnesses to testify truthfully; indeed, by shielding a negligent expert witness from liability, it has the opposite effect.” Marrogi v. Howard, 805 So.2d 1118, 1133 (La. 2002) - “With no sanction for incompetent preparation…an expert witness is free to prepare and testify without the regard to the accuracy of his data or opinion. We do not see how the freedom to testify negligently will result in more truthful expert testimony. Without some overarching purpose, it would be illogical, if not unconscionable, to shield a professional, who is otherwise held to the standards and duties of his or her profession, from liability for his or her malpractice simply because a party to a judicial proceeding has engaged that professional to provide services in relation to the judicial proceeding and that professional testifies by affidavit or deposition.” Click to advance
  • The National Academy of Sciences, February 2009 “I am troubled by the report’s general finding that far too many forensic disciplines lack the standards necessary to ensure their scientific reliability in court,” said Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12589 Click to advance
  • Texas Law Requires Accreditation for Forensic Labs American Society of Crime Lab Directors-Laboratory Accreditation Board ASCLD-LAB http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/criminal_law_enforcement/crime_laboratory/clabaccreditation.htm Click to advance
  • Oversight of crime-lab staff has often been lax By Ruth Teichroeb, Seattle Post – Intelligencer Reporter July 23, 2004 ... Experts say reforms needed. Some critics believe a host of reforms are needed, including weeding out incompetent or dishonest crime lab employees, and requiring more rigorous outside reviews. Washington's [State Patrol] crime labs are inspected once every five years to retain voluntary accreditation. During the last review, in September 1999, all of the labs initially fell short of meeting key standards, records show. Inspectors cited problems ranging from proficiency tests that weren't up to date to an unlocked evidence freezer. Those problems were soon corrected. Said [Barry] Logan [crime lab director]: "They didn't come up with anything that they felt was a problem with the quality of the work." Failing to meet voluntary standards, however, is a red flag because accreditation is done by former crime lab insiders who set the bar low, experts say. "It's an old boys' network," said William C. Thompson, a criminology and law professor at the University of California-Irvine. "It's the absolute bare bones that's needed to run a lab. It isn't the best scientific work that can be done." … What's really needed is more rigorous science, said Edward Blake, a California forensic scientist whose work has helped free dozens of wrongly convicted prisoners. "This is an operation like 'I'm OK, you're OK,' " Blake said. "The labs have manufactured credentials for themselves," said Blake, who won't accredit his California lab. "If you have people who are willing to manufacture credentials, what else are they making up?“ http://www.seattlepi.com/local/183203_crimelab23.html Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… The Crime Laboratory Accreditation Program of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB), is a voluntary program in which any crime laboratory may participate to demonstrate that its management, operations, personnel, procedures, equipment, physical plant, security, and health and safety procedures meet established standards. The program is managed by a professional staff under the direction of the Board of Directors, elected by the Delegate Assembly, to which it is responsible. The Delegate Assembly is composed of the directors of all accredited laboratories and laboratory systems. The ASCLD/LAB Bylaws (Appendix 7) govern the authority and responsibilities of the Board, the Delegate Assembly and the staff. Accreditation is a part of a laboratory's quality assurance program which should also include proficiency testing, continuing education, and other programs to help the laboratory give better overall service to the criminal justice system. Accreditation is granted for a period of five years provided that a laboratory continues to meet ASCLD/LAB standards, including completion of the Annual Accreditation Audit Report and participation in prescribed proficiency testing programs. To maintain accreditation, a laboratory must submit a new application for accreditation every fifth year, and undergo another on-site inspection using the version of the accreditation manual which is in effect at the time of the application. SWIFS was ASCLD-LAB accredited in March 2003, Texas Department of Public Safety in September 2003, Re-accredited by ASCLD-LAB in March 2008. Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years Inspectors used only 4 days to assess if SWIFS’s Standard Operating Procedures (of 5 Units) were “scientifically sound” and forensic scientists were following policy and procedures. From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… This is a report of the ASCLD/LAB accreditation inspection of the Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. The initial inspection was conducted on February 26-29, 2008. During the period of April 10-August 13, the inspection team reviewed documentation which was provided by the laboratory concerning compliance with criteria for which the laboratory was found to not be fully compliant during the initial inspection. The ASCLD/LAB inspection team consisted of the following members: Richard Frank, Staff Inspector, ASCLD/LAB, Towson, MD Nita Joyce Bolz, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Pensacola, FL Jana Champion, Wisconsin Department of Justice, Milwaukee, WI Meghan Clement, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, Research Triangle Park, NC David H. Eagerton, Ph.D., South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, SC Joseph Fabiny, Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Laboratory, San Jose, CA Carl Sobieralski, Indiana State Police, Indianapolis, IN Jodine Zane, Baltimore County Police Department, Towson, MD The inspection was performed using the principles, standards and criteria established in the 2005 version of the ASCLD/LAB Accreditation Manual and version 6.0 of the FBI “Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories.” Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years Inspectors used only 4 days to assess if SWIFS’s Standard Operating Procedures (of 5 Units) were “scientifically sound” and forensic scientists were following policy and procedures. Institute Code of Ethics v1.0 5 pages Institute Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3 53 pages Responsibilities of the ASCLD-LAB Auditors: Institute Facility Security Manual v2.0 31 pages Environmental Health and Safety Program v2.0 58 pages Review approximately 2339 pages of Physical Evidence Section Administrative Manual v2.2 44 pages technically detailed manuals and procedures for Procedures for Housekeeping Evidence Registration 13 pages accuracy and correctness. FBU (DNA and Serology) Quality Manual v1.2 17 pages FBU Serology Training Guide v1.1 13 pages FBU Serology Procedures Manual v1.0 87 pages Assess building and laboratory layouts for FBU Equipment Maintenance and Calibration Program v1.4 32 pages safety, storage, and security of evidence. FBU Procedures for Laboratory Maintenance v2.2 11 pages FBU STR Training Program v2.0 24 pages FBU Procedures for Multiplex STR Analysis v1.1 401 pages Interview and witness approximately 50 Trace Evidence Training Manual v2.0 143 pages analysts working in the laboratory for Trace Evidence Procedures Collection v2.3 330 pages understanding and adherence to protocols and compliance to the Quality Assurance Program. Firearms and Toolmarks Procedures Manual v2.2 130 pages Firearms and Toolmarks Training Manual v1.1 271 pages Firearms and Toolmarks Housekeeping Manual v1.1 11 pages Confirm the educational backgrounds for all Forensic Chemistry Administrative Manual v2.0 40 pages analysts meet requirements of position. Controlled Substances Procedures Manual v2.2 149 pages Controlled Substances Resources Manual v2.0 61 pages Review large number of “random” case files for Controlled Substances Training Manual v2.1 26 pages documentation compliance. Toxicology Procedures Manual v2.2 262 pages Toxicology Training Manual v2.0 56 pages Toxicology Resources Documents v2.0 71 pages Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years Accreditation and Expert Witness Testimony: The Wizard of Oz Argument “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. Go - before I lose my temper! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken!” -L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years Accreditation and Expert Witness Testimony: The Jedi Mind Trick Argument Stormtrooper: Let me see your identification. Obi-Wan: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see his identification. Stormtrooper: We don't need to see his identification. Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for. Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for. Obi-Wan: He can go about his business. Stormtrooper: You can go about your business. -George Lucas, Star Wars Click to advance
  • ASCLD-LAB Accreditation External Audit is required every 5 years Accreditation and Expert Witness Testimony: Genetic Fallacy - When the reliability of testimony is based on its source rather than by the evidence available for it. “A Court’s emphasis on the qualifications of expert witnesses is very different from standards of science, in which ad hominem considerations are minimized. Scientists are trained to look at the strength of the data, not the credentials of the research.” - Amici Brief of New England Journal of Medicine and Marcia Angell, Gen. Elec.v. Joiner, 522 US 136 (1997) Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits From the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors - Laboratory Accreditation Board Manual (2005)… … Annual Accreditation Audit Report On or about the laboratory’s accreditation anniversary, directors of accredited laboratories are required to submit to the ASCLD/LAB an Annual Accreditation Audit Report (Appendix 6) based on a self-evaluation of the laboratory's status with respect to all criteria during the previous calendar year. Whenever a laboratory finds that an essential criterion should be scored “NO” on the report, a statement must be attached to the report which explains the reason for the score and steps taken to bring the laboratory into compliance with the standard. Separate statements are required for any significant changes made in the laboratory during the previous year or for significant changes that have not been reported since the laboratory was accredited. Changes which must be reported are listed on the report form (Appendix 6). … From the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories, July 1, 2009… … 15. AUDITS STANDARD 15.1 The laboratory shall be audited annually in accordance with these standards. The annual audits shall occur every calendar year and shall be at least 6 months and no more than 18 months apart. STANDARD 15.2 At least once every two years, an external audit shall be conducted by an audit team comprised of qualified auditors from a second agency(ies) and having at least one team member who is or has been previously qualified in the laboratory’s current DNA technologies and platform. … Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits From “Quality Issues in Forensic Laboratory Science” (2004).ppt - Authored by Dr. Tim Sliter… …except when Management performs the audits themselves (internal audits). Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits Internal and External Forensic Biology Unit (FBU) Laboratory Audits* Dates of Audit Auditors (Signatures) Findings (paraphrased) 01/28/2002 External Lorna Beasley -Lack of procedures for calibration/maintenance of equipment Manual Valadez, Jr. -Some equipment not calibrated/maintained (not logged); monitoring is lax -LIMS system would be beneficial; management states it is investigating 08/18-21/2002 External George Herrin, Ph.D. -One analyst lacks adequate educational background Katherine Welch, M.S. -Cleaning/maintenance procedures for equipment not followed -Some equipment not calibrated/maintained (not logged) -Criteria of Proficiency Test evaluations not established -Proficiency test errors and corrective actions not recorded -No prior audit information available 12/9-12/2003 Internal Timothy Sliter, Ph.D. -No discrepancies of non-compliance reported Evelyn Ridgley, Ph.D. Jim Dempsey 12/6-7/2004 External Lorna Beasley -Lack of procedures for calibration/maintenance of equipment R. Greg Hilbig -Some equipment not calibrated/maintained (not logged) -DNA procedures not checked against NIST standard reference material 12/5-7/2005 Internal Jim Dempsey -No discrepancies of non-compliance reported Timothy Sliter, Ph.D. Jack Trout 07/24-25/2006 External Mary Reed -No written procedures for taking and maintaining case notes; analysts not following Marci Wease -Lab does not have (or follow) EH&S Program *Documents received via PIA-Open Records request **Quality Manager is responsible for organizing the audit External audits always find lab (accreditation) standards not being followed, often the same standards. Internal audits never find any discrepancies. continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits Continued from previous slide… Internal and External Forensic Biology Unit (FBU) Laboratory Audits* Dates of Audit Auditors (Signatures) Findings (paraphrased) 12/20-31/2007 Internal Timothy Sliter, Ph.D. -No discrepancies of non-compliance reported Stacy McDonald, Ph.D. no Quality Manager Signature** 02/26-29/2008 External Meghan Clement -Quality Management Manuals contained obsolete procedure, lacked current procedures Jodine Zane -Lack of procedures for calibration/maintenance of equipment -Some equipment not calibrated/maintained (not logged) -No written procedure for releasing reports 06/23-24/2008 External Lucy Houck -Lack of documentation for procedure validation studies Katherine Butler -Lack of written procedures for some tests -Written procedures for documenting reagent preparation not available or followed -Written procedures for case work notations not available or followed -Administrative and technical reviews of case reports not followed 02/26-29/2008 External ASCLD Accreditation -Personnel evaluations not given (09/13/2008) -Proficiency test using re-examination or blind techniques not done -Firearm technician lacks a baccalaureate degree -Lack of procedures for calibration/maintenance of equipment -Other issues for Firearms Unit, Controlled Substances Unit, Trace Evidence Unit 01/12-14/2009 Internal Documents not received from PIA-Open Records request *Documents received via PIA-Open Records request **Quality Manager is responsible for organizing the audit External audits always find lab (accreditation) standards not being followed, often the same standards. Internal audits never find any discrepancies. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits The ASCLD/LAB Inspection Report and the Quality Assurance Audit were done on the same days (02.26-28.2008)… …but conflicting findings were reported by auditors in separate reports. From the ASCLD/LAB Inspection Report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008 (inspection 02.26.2008)… Yes No N/A However… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs, 02.26.2008… Note: A hardcopy of the obsolete Quality Management Program of the Forensic Biology Unit v1.1 was given to trainees on the first day of employment, March 2008. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Inadequate and Incomplete Annual Audits More DPS labs flawed: DNA testing woes across state threaten thousands of cases By Steve McVicker, Houston Chronicle, January 13, 2006 … The audits also turned up significant problems in Abilene, Waco, Lubbock, Garland and at two labs in Austin. The problems range from bad methodology, storage and record-keeping to severe backlogs that could mean some trials have to go forward before evidence testing is complete. [Forensic consultant] Rudin also questioned the quality of the auditing. She pointed to an August 2003 recommendation by audit team captain C. Glen Johnson for lab personnel to use data from another DPS facility to validate work in the El Paso lab. Johnson did not respond to a request for comment. DPS officials e-mailed that they stood by that system of inspection. "That upset me more than anything I read," Rudin said. "And it was from an inspector, which tells me that the inspectors have no clue. The whole point (of the audits) is that you're supposed to do them in your own lab. That's what internal validation is. And that doesn't mean within a laboratory system. It means within a physical plant." Regardless of the severity or quantity of problems found by the inspectors, Rudin said, almost every audit report concludes that the lab in question "is producing quality work." "It's the same language every time," Rudin said. " `It's fine. They're doing a service. They're doing quality work.' And on every single one of them it was so gratuitous it stopped having any meaning." [Chairman of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association's crime lab strike force Stanley Schneider] Schneider's overall assessment was more pointed. "If crime labs were in the private sector, they'd all be shut down," the Houston attorney said. "Business would not tolerate this kind of functioning." http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/topstory/2470016.html Click to advance
  • A response to my anonymous query sent to several forensic lab managers throughout the U.S. regarding mismanagement, protocol non-compliance, and Quality Assurance concerns Subject: Management misconduct and serology SOP non-compliance Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2008 10:47:58 -0700 From: NameWitheld@xxxx.gov To: ReplyConcernedForensicBiologist@live.com Forwarded to me by my Lab Director; My suggestion, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, and do nothing more until you and your co-trainee's are off of your probationary period. Otherwise, YOU WILL GET FIRED (I have seen it happen in other labs), and you will have NO recourse under FLSA employment rules. Once you are off of probation, then you can attempt to raise hell about your perceived laboratory QA issues. In the end though, you are a subordinate employee in the system. You may never get a resolution that you find tolerable and may have to just steal their training and leave for another lab. It may take a QA catastrophe to get anything changed, i.e. Houston Police, Detroit Police, etc. But then, they both completely shut down and dismissed or reassigned all of their employees. Be careful what you ask for!! Honestly though, serology is not an area where a catastrophe is likely to ever truly occur. It may be a crappy serology SOP and poorly applied, but it is likely to only be in the DNA analysis portion of the Biology unit where a catastrophe would actually be perceived to be just that; and you have not mentioned issues in that area. Good luck, NameWitheld@xxxx.gov Click to advance
  • www.thejusticeproject.org 2008 There is no oversight board to assure that SWIFS’s Managers and Supervisors are performing their jobs objectively, scientifically, professionally, ethically, and fairly towards the analysts that perform the work. Lab analysts (and trainees) are blamed for all errors. There is no accountability for the actions of Managers and Supervisors. Click to advance
  • “Quality Issues in Forensic Laboratory Science” (2004).ppt Authored by Dr. Tim Sliter While acknowledging the criticisms of the forensic labs of The Department of Public Safety and Houston Police Department, the Management at SWIFS failed to recognize or address the problems within their own labs and ineptitude among their own analysts. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications EXCLUSIVE: Policing the crime labs: No government bodies regulate forensic labs North County Times, Teri Figueroa, January 30, 2010 … Ralph Keaton is the executive director of the accrediting organization, and he said labs that get its approval are held to a very high standard, and must have checks and balances in place. And, he said, labs with the ASCLD/LAB accreditation are expected to take immediate corrective action when mistakes are uncovered. "It is a matter of public trust," Keaton said. "The labs really are the final say in a lot of decision-making in the courtroom. ... The accused and the accusers really are at the mercy of good science.“ … http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/article_8a62334c-c3a1-539b-935b-c41bbb1e5217.html Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications Request For Reviews (RFR) and Corrective Action Requests (CAR) From the SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3… 17. Self-Critical Review and Corrective Action 17.1.Self-critical review of laboratory procedures, processes, and results is a fundamental and routine expectation of a scientific laboratory and an integral component in maintaining consistency with best practices in forensic sciences. … 17.1.3. Other issues identified through self-critical review may not be addressed in routine practices, policies, and procedures; action on these issues may be initiated by submitting a Request for Review (RFR) to the Executive Committee. 17.1.3.1. Every isolated variance from policy and procedure does not require an RFR. 17.1.3.2. Isolated administrative errors do not usually require an RFR. … 17.2.6. Executive Committee determines the appropriate course of action such as requesting further information or action, accepting resolution proposed or conducted as part of the RFR, initiating the Corrective Action Response (CAR) process, referring the issue to a more appropriate process such as Human Resources, EHS Manager, Security Manager, determining that no action is necessary, etc. 17.3. Corrective Action Request (CAR) 17.3.1. When an issue raised in an RFR is determined by the Executive Committee to be substantive, it will be investigated, tracked, and resolved through the CAR process. 17.3.1.1. An issue is defined as being “substantive” if it has the potential to significantly impact the quality of the work of the laboratory – even if for a short time. 17.3.1.2. Determination that an issue is “substantive” should consider the significance, substance, and time-span of the issue. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications Institute-wide emails or memos addressing problems or incidents should happen, but rarely does. Management Verbal complaints are mostly forgotten or ignored. verbal X X X analyst analyst analyst Per the SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3… 5.1. Employees. Employees have the following responsibilities: … 5.1.3. To immediately bring to the attention of their Supervisor, Section Chief, or Director any situation which potentially compromises the integrity of work performed or reported by Institute personnel; Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications Verbal directives are relayed from Management to analyst to other analysts, leading to protocol drift (i.e. different analysts following different undocumented Management Memo of incident protocols; loss of protocol logic and rational; (not RFR or CAR) incorporation of faulty science.) email Addressed to verbal Inanimate Objects: -Case File -Reagent Log Notebook -Employee’s Records analyst analyst Memo of incident analyst (without Management verbal verbal acknowledgement) Per the SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3… 5.1. Employees. Employees have the following responsibilities: … 5.1.3. To immediately bring to the attention of their Supervisor, Section Chief, or Director any situation which potentially compromises the integrity of work performed or reported by Institute personnel; Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications ASCLD/LAB, Dallas County DA, Dept. of Public Safety Management Report Of Misconduct analyst analyst analyst Per the SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3… 17.4.4.2. In the event that the Director determines that the quality concern involves serious negligence or misconduct by staff or subcontractors that substantially affects the integrity of the scientific analyses performed and reported by the Institute, then the Director will report the concern to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, and other agencies as appropriate. … 17.5.3. The Quality Manager oversees reporting of RFR and/or CAR issues to ASCLD/LAB and/or Texas DPS as appropriate. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) ASCLD/LAB, National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Dallas County DA, Grants and Funding Dept. of Public Safety ...means continued X funding for the lab. Management No employee, Report means no Report… X Of Misconduct analyst analyst X analyst Per the SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3… 17.4.4.2. In the event that the Director determines that the quality concern involves serious negligence or misconduct by staff or subcontractors that substantially affects the integrity of the scientific analyses performed and reported by the Institute, then the Director will report the concern to the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, and other agencies as appropriate. … 17.5.3. The Quality Manager oversees reporting of RFR and/or CAR issues to ASCLD/LAB and/or Texas DPS as appropriate. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications Management Propagation of protocol drift, Repetition of errors analyst New analyst analyst Per the Dallas County Code... Chapter 86 Personnel and Employment ARTICLE VIII. Grievances Procedures Sec. 86-1002. Eligibility. Any category C or D regular, full-time civil service employee may process an employment grievance. Any category C or D probationary civil service employee may file a grievance on defined items except those relating to his/her performance rating or dismissal. (Admin. Policy Manual, § A(12.01); Ord. No. 2001-1954, 10-9-2001) Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications At SWIFS: Not done consistently… Not done correctly… Not known or available to current employees… Not readily available to the public… (i.e. SWIFS is not transparent.) “Quality Issues in Forensic Laboratory Science” (2004).ppt - Dr. Tim Sliter Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications From a Public Information Act – Open Records Request, 06.22.2009… …continued on next page Click to advance
  • SWIFS Annual Accreditation Internal Audit Report …continued from previous page These documents are not readily available to the public. These documents are also unavailable to current SWIFS employees. Not all documents requested were received. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications The lack of communication between the Supervisors and the analysts regarding audit findings or laboratory RFR/CAR issues leaves the analysts unaware and uninformed during Expert Witness testimony. Persuasive Precedent… GIGLIO v. UNITED STATES, 405 U.S. 150 (1972) CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT No. 70-29. Argued October 12, 1971 Decided February 24, 1972 Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence contending that the Government failed to disclose an alleged promise of leniency made to its key witness in return for his testimony. At a hearing on this motion, the Assistant United States Attorney who presented the case to the grand jury admitted that he promised the witness that he would not be prosecuted if he testified before the grand jury and at trial. The Assistant who tried the case was unaware of the promise. Held: Neither the Assistant's lack of authority nor his failure to inform his superiors and associates is controlling, and the prosecution's duty to present all material evidence to the jury was not fulfilled and constitutes a violation of due process requiring a new trial. Pp. 153-155. Reversed and remanded. Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications “Quality Issues in Forensic Laboratory Science” (2004).ppt - Dr. Tim Sliter Public reports of forensic lab non-compliance and errors could lead to criminal proceeding embarrassment, legal threats of expert witness malpractice, or loss of Federal grant money… Click to advance
  • From the NIJ FY0X Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program CFDA No. 16.741 (This Program includes the DNA Capacity Enhancement Program) Overview The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research, development, and evaluation agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a component of the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). NIJ provides objective, independent, evidence-based knowledge and tools to enhance the administration of justice and public safety. NIJ solicits applications to inform its search for the knowledge and tools to guide policy and practice. The goal of NIJ's FY0X Forensic DNA Backlog Reduction Program is to assist eligible States and units of local government to reduce forensic DNA sample turnaround time, increase the throughput of public DNA laboratories, and reduce DNA forensic casework backlogs. These improvements are critical to preventing future DNA backlogs and to helping the criminal justice system use the full potential of DNA technology. Eligible States and units of local government may request funds to increase the capacity of their existing crime laboratories that conduct DNA analysis in order to analyze DNA samples more efficiently and cost effectively. Eligible applicants also may request funds to handle, screen, and analyze backlogged forensic DNA casework samples. … 11. Proof of DNA Laboratory Accreditation (required): Acceptable types of documentation of current accreditation include: an electronic (scanned) copy of the current accreditation certificate(s), a digital photograph of the current accreditation certificate(s), or a letter from the accrediting body that includes the certificate number. Additionally, if the certificate references another document that contains key information on the type or scope of the accreditation, please also provide a copy of that supplemental documentation. http://www.dna.gov/funding/backlog-reduction/ Click to advance
  • From the NIJ Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program CFDA No. 16.742 Overview The Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program (the Coverdell program) awards grants to States and units of local government to help improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science and medical examiner services. Among other things, funds may be used to eliminate a backlog in the analysis of forensic evidence and to train and employ forensic laboratory personnel, as needed, to eliminate such a backlog. States may apply for both “base” (formula) and competitive funds. Units of local government may apply for competitive funds. The Coverdell program is authorized by Title I of the Omnibus Safe Streets and Crime Control Act of 1968, Part BB, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 3797j-3797o (the Coverdell law). … The Coverdell law (at 42 U.S.C. § 3797k) requires that, to request a grant, an applicant for the Coverdell funds must submit: … 2. A certification regarding use of generally accepted laboratory practices. Each applicant must submit a certification that any forensic laboratory system, medical examiner’s office, or coroner’s office in the State, including any laboratory operated by a unit of local government within the State, that will receive any portion of the grant amount (whether directly or through subgrant) uses generally accepted laboratory practices and procedures established by accrediting organizations or appropriate certifying bodies. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/forensics/nfsia/welcome.htm Click to advance
  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Grants awarded to Dallas County SWIFS by year $822,502 2008-DN-BX-K037 Forensic Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program Formula Grants $809,929 2007-DN-BX-K106 Forensic Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program Formula Grants $94,361 2007-CD-BX-0044 Development of an Enhanced Electronic Casework Record System $502,447 2006-DN-BX-K171 DNA Capacity Enhancement Program Formula Grants $210,910 2006-DN-BX-K084 Forensic Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program Formula Grants $95,000 2006-DN-BX-0037 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program $372,193 2005-DA-BX-K042 DNA Capacity Enhancement Program Formula Grants $288,660 2005-DN-BX-K121 Forensic Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Program Formula Grants $95,000 2005-DN-BX-0016 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program $479,806 2004-DN-BX-K187 DNA Capacity Enhancement Program Formula Grants $80,233 2004-DN-BX-0202 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program $3,851,041 total over 5 years Grant money from other sources? http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/awards/ Click to advance
  • New SWIFS Building…Estimated $45 million 112,000-sf, three-story Forensic Sciences building containing ballistics testing facility, trace labs, forensic biology labs, DNA extraction labs, drug analysis labs, breath alcohol and toxicology labs, autopsy labs & morgue as well as offices, administration space, conference facilities, and high-security evidence room. Estimated to be completed by Spring 2009. http://www.mccarthy.com/work/science-technology/dallas-county-forensic-science/ Click to advance
  • Campbell: Wrongful convictions an expensive proposition May 22, 2008 BY LINDA P. CAMPBELL STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER … And here's the black and white from the Texas comptroller's office: 45 people have been paid almost $8.5 million since 2001. Under current law, a convicted individual who has been pardoned because of a wrongful conviction or has been declared actually innocent can apply to the Texas comptroller' s office for compensation of $50,000 per year of imprisonment, $100,000 per year if in on a death sentence. (Before last year, it was $25,000 a year, up to $500,000.*) Among the 45 listed by the comptroller' s office -- see the partial list that accompanies this column -- are 19 of the 35 Tulia residents whom Gov. Rick Perry pardoned in 2003 after an undercover agent whose testimony was used against them on drug charges was discredited. Their payments range from $14,500 to more than $106,000. The problem with money is that it can't make up for lost time and the other life disruptions that accompany being wrongly accused, convicted and imprisoned. That's a whole other story. Nor does the compensation that the state has paid account for what taxpayers put in on the front end of those prosecutions or to house prisoners who don't belong there. You can make lots of arguments for improving the system. It's hard to argue against it. COSTLY RECOMPENSE These are the top 10 amounts cited by the Texas comptroller' s office: $1,000,000 -- Larry Charles Fuller, Dallas County: Spent almost 20 years in prison, convicted of a 1981 rape based on the victim's identification. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2007. $608,333 -- John Michael Harvey, Tarrant County: Served almost 13 years of a 40-year sentence, convicted of molesting the 3-year-old daughter of a former girlfriend. Found actually innocent by courts after the girl recanted the accusation, released in 2004. (Fuller and Harvey won't receive half their money until later this year because the law requires payment in two installments.) $500,000 -- Billy Wayne Miller, Dallas County: Served more than 22 years of a life sentence, convicted of 1984 sexual assault. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2006. $452,083 -- Arthur Merle Mumphrey, Montgomery County: Served 18 years, convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl at knifepoint in 1986. Exonerated through DNA testing and pardoned in 2006. $435,416 -- Carlos Lavernia, Travis County: Served 17 years of a 99- year sentence, convicted of aggravated sexual abuse largely on the victim's identification. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2000. $429,166 -- Ernest Ray Willis, Pecos County: Served 17 years on Death Row, convicted of deliberately setting a fire in which two women died. A federal judge ruled that the state withheld evidence and improperly drugged Willis and that his lawyer was ineffective. A new investigation found the fire wasn't arson. Charges were dropped. $391,666 -- Victor Larue Thomas, Ellis County: Served more than 15 years, convicted of raping a store clerk at gunpoint in 1985. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2001. $387,499 -- Wiley Edward Fountain, Dallas County: Served 15 years, convicted of aggravated sexual assault in 1986. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2002. (CNN reported recently that he had become homeless and could not be found.) $385,416 -- David Shawn Pope, Dallas County: Served 15 years of a 45- year sentence, convicted of raping a Garland woman at knifepoint in 1985. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2001. $374,999 -- Calvin Edward Washington, McLennan County: Served almost 15 years of a life sentence, convicted of raping and killing a woman in 1986. Exonerated through DNA testing in 2001. … *The Timothy Cole Act, enacted September 2009, allows for a lump sum payment of $80,000 /year incarceration. Click to advance
  • The Texas Department of Public Safety (Austin) knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing. From: Jac.Blake@gmail.com To: LabQA@txdps.state.tx.us Sent: February 12, 2009 7:41 AM Subject: anonymous reporting of forensic lab non-compliance Dear Sirs: If you will please excuse the anonymity, I have some forensic biology related concerns that could be grounds for immediate employment termination should my issues become public. I am seeking advice for a solution to a situation that has become very volatile for several forensic biologists in our lab (including myself) and could ultimately have career-ending and legal ramifications… …analysts are not exactly doing what they say they are doing… From: LabQA@txdps.state.tx.us To: Johnson, Pat Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 12:46 PM Subject: FW: anonymous reporting of forensic lab non-compliance I received this email via LabQA. It appears to be an internal complaint, however does not have sufficient information to target specific issues. I do believe that we need to discuss this email. Forrest Davis Quality Assurance Coordinator Texas Department of Public Safety 512.424.2799 Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • The Texas Department of Public Safety (Austin) knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing. From: Jac Blake <jac.blake@gmail.com> To: "Johnson, Pat" <Pat.Johnson@txdps.state.tx.us> Date: Mon, Mar 16, 2009 at 6:19 AM Subject: Re: FW: anonymous reporting of forensic lab non-compliance D. Pat Johnson- You received an anonymous email on 02.19.09 (forwarded from 02.12.09) that expressed concerns of protocol non- compliance in an unnamed Texas Forensic Lab. This is the second part… …The previous email pertains to The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, Texas (aka SWIFS or the Dallas County Crime Lab)… …The Supervisors are: Stacy McDonald, Ph.D. - Acting Serology Lab Supervisor / Deputy Chief of Physical Evidence Tim Sliter, Ph.D. - Chief of Physical Evidence / DNA Technical Leader… From: Johnson, Pat <Pat.Johnson@txdps.state.tx.us> To: Jac Blake <jac.blake@gmail.com> Date: Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 8:29 AM Subject: RE: non-compliance of Texas lab This is the last correspondence received from Texas DPS (Austin). Mr. Blake, This e-mail is to acknowledge receipt of your information. I have assigned a person here to review your documents, and then we will decide how to proceed. From: Jac Blake <jac.blake@gmail.com> To: "Johnson, Pat" <Pat.Johnson@txdps.state.tx.us> Date: Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 7:57 AM Subject: Re: non-compliance of Texas lab Hello- Attached is an addendum with more supporting documentation to the memo 031609. Click to advance
  • The Dallas County District Attorney’s Office knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing. 03.09.2009 Unscheduled, impromptu meeting between Investigator Jim Hammond of Dallas County District Attorneys Office, Conviction Integrity Unit (DCDAO CIU) and SWIFS Forensic Analyst Trainee., approximately 10:30am-11:45am, at SWIFS… (paraphrasing) …He asked, I acknowledged, that I was frustrated with Management's unwillingness to "step it up", scientifically speaking… …He asked, “analysts not complying with the protocol as written, but rather ‘spirit of the protocol’?” I said this is a problem with ASCLD/LAB Guidelines… …I stated that problems are reported to Supervisors, yet nothing occurs; scientific issues not addressed… …He asked, I told him other serologists were just as concerned. He asked for names, I gave him the name of another (well experienced) trainee… … 12.21-23.2009 State of Texas v. Stanley Ledbetter, No. F08-73084-V, Judicial District Court 292nd, Dallas, Texas. During cross-examination between Prosecutor David Alex and Trainee, David Alex alleges that this conversation was audio recorded by Investigator Jim Hammond without the knowledge of the Trainee… Was this Expert Witness Testimony audio recording disclosed to Criminal Defense Attorneys (as Brady Material)? Click to advance
  • New problem looms in police lab scandal Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, March 24, 2010 In a legal challenge arising out of the San Francisco police lab drug-skimming scandal, a judge will soon determine whether police and prosecutors withheld vital information about the suspected thefts from defendants' attorneys. Judge Anne-Christine Massullo ordered District Attorney Kamala Harris and the Police Department to turn over more than 1,100 pages of documents related to the lab investigation, so she can determine whether they are relevant in the upcoming cocaine-sales trial of Mario Bell. Bell's attorney, Jim Senal, sought the documents and said Tuesday that he'll move to have the case dismissed if the documents show authorities knew of problems with police drug testing but did not reveal them. If Massullo grants the dismissal on the grounds Bell's rights were violated, it could damage prosecutors' prospects in scores of other drug cases that have already gone to trial. Prosecutors have been forced to drop more than 250 cases since Police Chief George Gascón ordered the drug-testing section of the crime lab closed March 9, but have said they hope to refile many of those cases when narcotics evidence can be retested. Because of the prohibition against double jeopardy, however, they cannot refile against a defendant whose trial has already begun. Massullo's ruling on the drug-lab documents is expected as early as Thursday, and will serve as a guide when other defense attorneys make similar requests. Bell's trial is scheduled to begin Monday. The documents concern what police and prosecutors know about the case of Deborah Madden, 60, a 29-year technician at the lab who is suspected of stealing cocaine evidence. Madden, who went on leave in December and retired March 1, has not been charged. Madden tested the substance that Bell is accused of selling and determined it was cocaine, a routine yet critical finding that prosecutors require if they are to bring a drug case to trial. Senal first asked prosecutors and police for the investigation documents in the Madden case March 10, the day after Gascón publicized the drug lab's problems. When prosecutors and police initially resisted, Massullo threatened to dismiss the case. Public Defender Jeff Adachi said his office is awaiting the judge's review of the files. "This could be Pandora's box," Adachi said. "Judge Massullo is taking this very seriously." Even in cases not involving Madden, Adachi said, recent testing by outside labs has shown problems with drug weights as reported by the police lab. The outside labs have shown smaller amounts of drugs in some cases than the initial police testing, he said. In one case, a marijuana sample tested after Madden left the lab weighed 2 grams more by the police measurement than by the outside lab's, Adachi said. A cocaine sample that Madden said weighed half a gram amounted to just one-tenth of a gram by an outside lab's measurement, Adachi said. "I doubt very much that narcotics are disappearing into thin air," he said. "There needs to be an explanation as to what is happening here and why.“ Lt. Lyn Tomioka, spokeswoman for the Police Department, did not comment specifically on the alleged drug weight problems. "We are committed to working with the court and others in fully cooperating to ensure all concerned cases are properly adjudicated," she said. http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-03-24/bay-area/18844986_1_police-drug-testing-police-lab-police-and-prosecutors Click to advance
  • http://www.fsc.state.tx.us/about.html Click to advance
  • The Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing for 2 months. Both The TX DPS (Austin) and TFSC received the same anonymous report and addendum on the same days. After several email correspondences, TFSC finally committed to an investigation… From: Tomlin, Leigh <lmt018@shsu.edu> To: Jac Blake <jac.blake@gmail.com date: Wed, May 20, 2009 at 12:37 PM RE: TFSC Dear anonymous complainant, The Commission was able to conduct a preliminary review of the complaint and attached materials you submitted. It is standard procedure of the Texas Forensic Science Commission to forward complaints to the entities the complaint is against and request a formal response from them on the complaint. The complaint you submitted will be forwarded to SWIFS and also to the accrediting entity ASCLD for a response. At our next meeting, July 24th, 2009, the Commission will review any materials or responses received regarding your complaint. We will be in touch with you on the status of your complaint after that meeting. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Commission office. Sincerely, Leigh Tomlin Leigh M. Tomlin Texas Forensic Science Commission Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice However… Box 2296 816 17th Street Huntsville, Texas 77341 Phone: 1(888) 296-4232 Fax: 1 (888) 305-2432 Click to advance
  • The Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing for 2 months. Note: SWIFS is revealed as the lab under investigation by the TFSC. http://www.fsc.state.tx.us/documents/D_072409MeetingMinutes.pdf Click to advance
  • The Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) knew of the internal complaints…yet did nothing for 2 months. from: Jac Blake to: Tomlin, Leigh date: Monday, August 03, 2009 10:57 PM subject: responses from SWIFS and ASCLD Hello! I was wondering if there were responses from SWIFS and ASCLD in regards to my report (03.16.09) and addendum (03.30.09)? jac.blake@gmail.com ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- from: Tomlin, Leigh lmt018@shsu.edu to: jac.blake@gmail.com date: Tues, Aug 4, 2009, 9:32 AM subject: RE: responses from SWIFS and ASCLD We have not yet received a written response, but we anticipate one and will forward it to you when it is received. Thanks, Leigh Leigh M. Tomlin Texas Forensic Science Commission …still no response. Click to advance
  • The Innocence Project of Texas was aware of the problems at SWIFS… To: blackburn@ipotexas.org From: ex-SWIFS employee@sbcglobal.net Date: 07/14/2009 Mr. Jeff Blackburn: In regards to our conversation, I would like to thank you for your invaluable insight into the goals and objectives of The Innocence Project of Texas as they relate to my concerns of potential forensic mismanagement I have witnessed. I would like to officially request The Innocence Project of Texas to initiate an investigation into the serology/DNA forensic lab practices at The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS) of Dallas County. Attached to this email is a file (.pdf) illustrating some of the suspicious scientific practices occurring in the laboratory. Also attached is an internal memo that was presented to the Management on 11.25.08 in regards to the serology lab SOP. As I stated, Management is aware of the long-standing problems but is resistant to change, requiring uninformed analysts in the lab to follow outdated procedures and questionable protocols. It is arguable that Management’s actions demonstrate “conformance to generally accepted professional and scientific standards necessary to earn the full confidence of the public and the criminal justice system” as set forth in the ASCLD/LAB Resolution and Accreditation Guidelines. I appreciate your time and cooperation towards an investigation into this matter. Let me know if I can assist in any way. Thank You! Best Regards, Ex-SWIFS employee Although there were a few phone conversations prior to this letter, there was no follow-up communication. Click to advance
  • Finally… The TFSC and ASCLD-LAB are currently assessing SWIFS’s response to the complaints. Click to advance
  • TEXAS FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMISSION – AGENDA October 2nd, 2009 - 9:30 A.M. Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas 221 E. Las Colinas Blvd. Irving, Texas 75039 D Telephone: (972) 869-5528 Fax: (972) 869-9053 ELE During this meeting, the Commission may consider and take action on the following items. The Commission shall have a morning break and a brief lunch break: … N C CA REVIEW OF ANY COMPLAINT FORMS RECEIVED AND FINAL DECISIONS TO DENY OR REVIEW (Bassett, et.al.) Distribute updated complaint list (Tomlin) Status of case #0915 Review of ASCLD response to #0915 (Eisenberg, Watts) Review of any response from corresponding lab Discussion on next steps for complaint #0915 This would have been the most opportune time to discuss the alleged forensic misconduct in the Dallas Crime Lab as a forum of scientists. Click to advance
  • A speech to the National Academy of Sciences regarding economic and public policy challenges in forensic science Washington, D.C. June 5, 2007 “If you asked me to go into a crime laboratory and determine what the likelihood is that an erroneous result could come from that lab, I would spend 20-25% of my time looking at the technical procedures and operations. I then would spend the other 75-80% looking at the laboratory’s organizational culture and leadership practices. Errors, misconduct, and instances of incompetence are much more likely to precipitate from a bad culture than from bad technical practices.” - John M. Collins, Jr., DuPage County Crime Laboratory Director, Wheaton, IL., Editor of Crime Lab Report Click to advance
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  • The following examples are an extension of the anonymous Report (03.16.2009) and Addendum (03.30.2009) sent to the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) and the Texas Department of Public Safety (Austin). Many of these errors would not be discoverable by external auditors assessing from a distance, or from a written inquiry to SWIFS Management. They can only be discovered by witnessing the errors and violations as they occur. These are not EXCEPTIONS TO the rules, but rather EXAMPLES OF the rules at SWIFS. Collectively, these represent the faulty logic, inept management, and overall systemic problems plaguing the Forensic Biology Unit at SWIFS. Click to advance
  • Incorrect and Expired stock chemicals used to prepare Serology Reagents Laboratory “critical reagents” are prepared by one analyst, used by all analysts. From Benchmark 1 Knowledge-Based Competency Test 10.21.2008… Click to advance
  • Incorrect and Expired stock chemicals used to prepare LMG Reagent (used for testing of blood) From the SWIFS Serology Procedures Manual v1.0… This recipe is specific to Sodium Perborate Tetrahydrate… Click to advance
  • Incorrect stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent from 3/17/05 to 5/17/05 Sodium Perborate Monohydrate Lot# 10215KQ This stock chemical was erroneously used to make the LMG Reagent, used by all serologists in the lab. It is listed in the Serology Reagent Log Binder, 03.17.2005 to 05.17.2005. (see next slide) It is unknown if this preparation of LMG Reagent was used in case work. However, there is no other listing in the Serology Reagent Log Binder of the preparation of the LMG Reagent for this time period. This stock chemical is still in the Serology Lab chemical cabinet as of April 2009. A trainee placed red tape across the lid to prevent other analysts from using it by mistake. No CAR was issued nor any action taken by Management even after receiving the anonymous report from the TFSC. From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…the chemical composition of a test reagent can not be varied, nor can the standards for QC testing reagents…” Click to advance
  • (as documented in the Serology Reagent Log Binder) Incorrect stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent from 03.17.2005 to 05.17.2005 Sodium Perborate Monohydrate Lot# 10215KQ Correct Incorrect Correct chemical chemical chemical Still passes QC!!! Lot# T20599 Lot# 10215KQ Lot# T20599 Sodium perborate tetrahydrate Sodium perborate monohydrate Sodium perborate tetrahydrate From J.T. Baker, cat# 3811 From Sigma Aldrich, cat# 10332 From J.T. Baker, cat# 3811 LMG Reagent prepared 01.27.2005 LMG Reagent prepared 03.17.2005 LMG Reagent prepared 05.18.2005 Why did the analysts use the incorrect chemical? Because the correct chemical was expiring… Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent 2009 PRICE (Sigma-Aldrich) 250grams, $27.30 In July 2008, a Trainee reported the use of this expired stock chemical to Supervisors. New stock chemical Sodium perborate tetrahydrate (Fluka/Sigma) ordered in September 2008. Replaced with new stock chemical in December 2008. Documented in the Serology Reagent Log Notebook (see Addendum to TFSC Report). Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent From the SWIFS Environmental Health and Safety Program v2.0, Chemical Safety Plan… From the SWIFS Quality Management Program of the Forensic Biology Unit v1.2, Serology Laboratory/DNA Laboratory (02.27.2008)… … 12.5. Reagents and solutions for DNA testing. Reagents and solutions used in DNA testing will be recorded in a log notebook, and will be assigned a laboratory inventory number. In addition, containers for reagents and solutions will be marked as having passed quality control testing. The Quality Coordinator for Reagents and Solutions (QCRS) oversees the assignment of quality control testing and documents the results of QC testing for all critical reagents used for DNA analysis. Results of all QC testing of critical reagents used for DNA analysis will be verified by the QCRS, or by the Forensic Biology Supervisor/DNA Technical Leader, prior to being included on the casework Reagent List. As appropriate, only reagents and solutions that have passed the appropriate quality control test will be used for analysis of case work samples. 12.5.1. The expiration dates for critical reagents used for DNA analysis will not be provided on the Casework Reagent List by the QCRS. It will be the responsibility of the DNA analyst to write in the expiration dates for those reagents used by the analyst in the DNA testing. … Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent From the ASCLD-LAB Manual, 2005… Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • In an impromptu Serology Lab meeting on 01.27.2009 (following an internal audit that “discovered” the log of the expired chemical in the Reagent Log Notebook), Dr. Stacy McDonald told all the forensic biologists: 1. Because the chemical was no longer in the lab, it was impossible to determine if the sodium perborate was truly expired, 2. Chemical companies do not always perform rigorous testing of their stock chemicals and often arbitrarily assign a 5 year expiration date. Therefore, this chemical is not expired. In fact, these are lies… 1. The Chemical Safety Manager had collected the remaining expired chemical and was storing it in the Toxicology Lab for proper chemical disposal, 2. Expiration dates for each chemical purchased are available online and through tech support for each Chemical Supplier… Click to advance
  • Mallinckrodt Baker (formerly J.T. Baker) documentation explaining “Use-before date” and “Retest date” From an email query from a Trainee to Mallinckrodt Baker Customer Help… 01/29/2009 3:24PM Hello! I am attempting to locate information regarding the expiration/use-before/retest date on the product Sodium perborate tetrahydrate, cat# 3811-05, lot# T20599. I believe this is a product you no longer sell. Is it possible to still get info on this product?? Thanks! ---------- 01/30/2009 2:03PM 3811 is a discontinued product, and we no longer sell Sodium Perborate Tetrahydrate. The lot you have expired on May 31, 2005, which is listed on the product label. Since this lot is over 7 years old, we no longer have the C of A on file. Regards, Click to advance
  • Mallinckrodt Baker (formerly J.T. Baker) documentation explaining “Use-before date” and “Retest date” http://www.mallbaker.com/solvit/default.asp?opt=1 Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent This is a memo left inside the Reagent Logbook to explain the use of the expired stock chemical to future external auditors. It was written after the 05/05 expiration date notation was “discovered” in the Reagent Logbook during an internal audit in January 2009. (The continued use of an expired stock chemical in the serology laboratory was presented in the 11.25.08 memorandum written by a trainee to the Executive Committee. Thus, it was known prior to the internal audit.) Lab analysts were not given the memo and were unaware that it existed. Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical α–Naphthyl Acid Phosphate used by serologists to prepare the Brentamine Reagent 2009 PRICE $105.00 (Front view) (Side view) New stock chemical received in the lab on 10.27.2008, and first used 11.25.2008 (documented in Reagent Log Notebook). According to Dr. Stacy McDonald (from the 01.27.2009 lab meeting), this stock chemical would have expired in 2007. Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical α–Naphthyl Acid Phosphate used by serologists to prepare the Brentamine Reagent Lot # 091K2621 http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/CertOfAnalysisPage.do?symbol=N7000&LotNo=091k2621&brandTest=SIGMA Click to advance
  • Sigma-Aldrich Product Dating Information www.sigmaaldrich.com/etc/medialib/docs/Sigma-Aldrich/General_Information/product-dating-information-statementv4.pdf Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical Fast Blue B Salt used to prepare the Brentamine Reagent 2009 PRICE $24.10 (Front view) (Top view) Sigma cat# D9805 lot # 024K0762 received date: 07.27.2004 opened date: 08.05.2004 expiration date: “lined-out” (why?) discontinued in lab on 12.28.2008; pdf. of Certificate of Analysis states February 2004, No Re-test Date Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical Fast Blue B Salt used to prepare the Brentamine Reagent Lot # 024K0762 http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/catalog/CertOfAnalysisPage.do?symbol=D9805&LotNo=024K0762&brandTest=SIAL Click to advance
  • Sigma-Aldrich Product Dating Information (again) www.sigmaaldrich.com/etc/medialib/docs/Sigma-Aldrich/General_Information/product-dating-information-statementv4.pdf Click to advance
  • Management was aware of potential quality assurance issues From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Coincidentally, even though the expired chemicals were not considered a quality assurance concern, these three stock chemicals were re-ordered for the lab after the Trainee reported to the Supervisor that expired chemicals were being used in the lab. The new stock chemicals were not used until months later. Previous expired lots continued to be used until (approximately) 11.25.2008. See next slide… Click to advance
  • Management was aware of potential quality assurance issues From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Under the direction of Dr. Tim Sliter, this was written by analyst PRL. It is the description of a validation experiment for the determination of expiration dates of stock chemicals. This comparison was not performed on mock items of evidence, but performed on control swabs only. The experimental comparison of expired chemicals versus new chemicals implies a potential quality assurance issue with expired chemicals previously used on real items of evidence. Both of these chemicals were beyond the chemical company’s assigned expiration dates (and Lot# 91K2621 1-naphthyl phosphate stock chemical was beyond Dr. Stacy McDonald’s arbitrary “5 year” expiration date as she stated in the 01.27.2009 serology lab meeting.) Dr. Tim Sliter never signed this statement (as of May 2009). Click to advance
  • Incorrect and Expired stock chemicals used to prepare LMG Reagent (used for testing of blood) From the SWIFS Serology Procedures Manual v1.0… Click to advance
  • (as documented in the Serology Reagent Log Binder) Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent Sodium Bisulfite Lot# 976762 ? Expired Sodium Bisulfite Correct Fisher Scientific chemical Cat# S654-500 Lot # 976762 Received 04.14.98 Last seen in the lab, May 2009 side view rear view Incorrect chemical + expired chemical = acceptable practice to Management Click to advance
  • Expired stock chemical used to prepare LMG Reagent 2009 PRICE $47.55 (Front) (Side) Sodium Bisulfite, granular Manufacturer: J.T. Baker (now Mallinckrodt-Baker Chemicals) Cat # 3556-01 Lot # JO1716 Received 4-21-1995 (This pre-dates Drs. Tim Sliter’s and Stacy McDonald’s employment at SWIFS.) “Recvd fr Louis J. 10-8-03” (An unknown source) Last used: 04.28.2009…still in use??? Click to advance
  • FBU analysts risk committing perjury because SWIFS does not use reliable principles and methods From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#27, page 27)… “…The empirical demonstration of the efficacy of the LMG Activator Solution by QC testing is sufficient to assure that the testing solutions used in casework are effective, in accordance with ACSLD/LAB accreditation requirements…” Failure events during QC of reagents are not recorded. Error rates are not known. Daubert Standards are not met. Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993) is a United States Supreme Court case determining the standard for admitting expert testimony in federal courts. The Daubert Court held that the enactment of the Federal Rules of Evidence impliedly overturned the Frye standard; the standard that the Court articulated is referred to as the Daubert standard. The Court defined "scientific methodology" as the process of formulating hypotheses and then conducting experiments to prove or falsify the hypothesis, and provided a nondispositive, nonexclusive, "flexible" test for establishing its "validity": 1. Empirical testing: the theory or technique must be falsifiable, refutable, and testable. 2. Subjected to peer review and publication. 3. Known or potential error rate. 4. The existence and maintenance of standards and controls concerning its operation. 5. Degree to which the theory and technique is generally accepted by a relevant scientific community. Click to advance
  • United States v. Havvard, 260 F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir. 2001) (“[FBI examiner] Meager also testified that the error rate for fingerprint comparison is essentially zero.”); United States v. Sullivan, 246 F. Supp. 2d 700, 703 (E.D. Ky. 2003) (noting that the FBI examiner “asserts that the rate of error for the ACE-V methodology is essentially zero”); United States v. Ewell, 252 F. Supp. 2d 104, 113 (D.N.J. 2003) (“[T]he [FBI] has demonstrated the scientific method [of DNA analysis] has a virtually zero rate of error.”); United States v. Allen, 207 F. Supp. 2d 856, 862 (N.D. Ind. 2002) (“[Examiner] Vanderkolk testified that the error rate of the [footprint identification] process . . . is zero.”); State v. Johnson, 905 P.2d 1002, 1012 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1995) (quoting an examiner’s testimony that his “laboratory had undergone several proficiency tests and that its laboratory error rate was currently zero”); Ramirez v. State, 810 So. 2d 836, 851 (Fla. 2001) (noting that the State’s toolmark expert in a death penalty case “testified that the method [of toolmark identification] is infallible, that it is impossible to make a false positive identification”); Commonwealth v. Teixeira, 662 N.E.2d 726, 728 (Mass. App. Ct. 1996) (noting that Agent Quill testified “that the error rate was reduced to zero by reason of his lab’s method of multiple-sample [DNA] analysis.”); People v. Wesley, 589 N.Y.S.2d 197, 200 (N.Y. App. Div. 1992) (“[I]t was unrefuted that it is impossible under the RFLP procedure to obtain a false positive result, i.e., to identify the wrong individual as the contributor of the DNA being tested.”); People v. Huang, 546 N.Y.S.2d 920, 921 (N.Y. Crim. Ct. 1989) (“Dr. Baird [the State’s DNA expert] testified that it is impossible to get a false positive reading. Environmental effects could at worst result in ‘no result,’ but never in a false positive reading.”); State v. Payne, No. 02AP-723, 2003 WL 22128810, at *13 (Ohio Ct. App. Sept. 16, 2003) (quoting a fingerprint examiner’s testimony that “the error rate [of fingerprinting] is essentially zero”); Commonwealth v. Blasioli, 685 A.2d 151, 165 n.29 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1996) (noting that crime lab director “testified that the Pennsylvania State Police lab had an error rate of zero: no errors had ever been detected”); Hicks v. State, 860 S.W.2d 419, 423 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993) (“Dr. Kevin McElfresh, Ph.D. . . . testified . . . that the [RFLP] procedures utilized had the ability to exclude suspects absolutely and that a false positive result was impossible.”); State v. Jones, 922 P.2d 806, 809 n.1 (Wash. 1996) (noting that a crime lab examiner “testified that the Washoe County laboratory is subject to external blind tests and proficiency testing and presently has a tested lab error rate of zero”); Moon v. State, 198 P. 288, 290 (Ariz. 1921) (“It is claimed that by means of finger prints the . . . [London] police . . . during the 14 years from 1901 to 1914 have made over 103,000 identifications . . . without error.”); People v. Jennings, 96 N.E. 1077, 1081 (Ill. 1911) (noting “the great success of the [fingerprinting] system in England, where it has been used since 1891 in thousands of cases without error”). National Research Council (NRC) “Even in the best of laboratories, . . . Rates [of error] are not zero.” NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL, DNA TECHNOLOGY IN FORENSIC SCIENCE, 94 (1992). Click to advance
  • “One must not equate ignorance of error with the lack of error. The lack of demonstration of error in certain fields of inquiry often derives from the nonexistence of methodological research into the problem and merely denotes a less advanced stage of that profession.” -Herbert Hyman, et al., Interviewing in Social Research 4 (1954). Click to advance
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  • Locard's exchange principle – “Every Contact Leaves A Trace." “Wherever he steps, whatever he touches, whatever he leaves, even unconsciously, will serve as a silent witness against him. Not only his fingerprints or his footprints, but his hair, the fibers from his clothes, the glass he breaks, the tool mark he leaves, the paint he scratches, the blood or semen he deposits or collects. All of these and more, bear mute witness against him. This is evidence that does not forget. It is not confused by the excitement of the moment. It is not absent because human witnesses are. It is factual evidence. Physical evidence cannot be wrong, it cannot perjure itself, it cannot be wholly absent. Only human failure to find it, study and understand it, can diminish its value.” —Paul L. Kirk. 1953. Crime investigation: physical evidence and the police laboratory. Interscience Publishers, Inc.: New York. Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination From the FBI Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing/Databasing Laboratories, July 1, 2009… Contamination – the unintentional introduction of exogenous DNA into a DNA sample or PCR reaction. Forensically speaking, “exogenous DNA” is DNA not associated with the crime scene. It could come from anyone directly handling the evidence, indirectly by anyone nearby while evidence is being analyzed (e.g. police investigators, lab analysts, visitors to the lab.). It could also come from DNA already present in an unclean lab (e.g. skin cells, hair from analysts). Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Extraordinarily sensitive technique Slides from CSI:Dallas.ppt – Dr. Stacy McDonald Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour*. (Every skin cell contains DNA). A human being loses an average of 40 to 100 strands of hair a day *. (The root of each hair contains DNA) *Bodies: The Exhibition (Fun Facts), http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/bodies.html Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Slides from CSI:Dallas.ppt – Dr. Stacy McDonald Another possible source of DNA Attribution – serologist performing the evidence analysis… A serologist may accidentally collect samples that “Knowns” should also include SWIFS employee contain his/her own DNA (shed skin cells, DNA profiles. aerosolized saliva through talking, coughing.) Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination -No hair nets or face masks worn. -Reagent bottles shared (touched) among analysts processing different cases (across from each other.) -Gloves not worn when handling smears/slides. Photos of SWIFS serology lab with past and present analysts taken from Power Point presentations given by SWIFS Supervisors. Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#24, page 23)… “…The policies and procedures related to PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] were audited by ASCLD/LAB in 2008. There was no finding related to this issue by ASCLD/LAB…Those audits have resulted in no findings related to the use of PPE…Similarly, we are aware of practices of various other laboratories in regard to the use of PPE during serology evidence examination, and understand our practices to conform to generally accepted practices…” However… Click to advance
  • DNA SAMPLE ERROR PUTS CASE ON LINE, LAB ON SPOT Chicago Tribune, July 27, 1999, By Ken Armstrong and Steve Mills, Tribune Staff Writers. After 15 years in prison for a rape and murder he insists he didn't commit, Anselm Holman thought DNA testing would finally set him free. Instead, a blunder by the Illinois State Police crime laboratory not only threatens to cost Holman a chance to prove his innocence, but almost certainly will bring additional scrutiny by defense attorneys who say the lab has made repeated mistakes in recent years. In the Holman case, a forensic scientist at the crime lab committed what forensic scientists call an extraordinary error: contaminating a semen smear on a microscope slide by somehow transferring his own DNA into the evidence. … It's unclear how the contamination in this case occurred, but Holman's lawyers say the scientist who performed the test told them he was not wearing gloves. That, according to experts, violates fundamental laboratory procedures for such testing. … Holman's attorneys now plan to ask a Cook County Circuit Court judge to allow them to have the evidence recovered from the victim tested by an independent laboratory. Still, they fear the contamination has made it impossible to discern the rapist's identity from the small amount of physical evidence remaining in the case. … Moses Schanfield, chief of a forensic genetics lab in Denver, said he had never heard of a case in which a DNA sample had been contaminated by the analyst's own DNA. "This shouldn't happen," Schanfield said. "It should cast a good deal of questions about the people doing the profile as well as the laboratory.“ Added John Gerdes, a Denver scientist who testified for the defense in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial: "I can't believe that he didn't wear gloves. And it's not only to protect yourself, but also to prevent contamination. That's absolutely standard. It's unbelievable.“ … Crime lab officials couldn't say how it happened, but the forensic scientist who performed the tests, Aaron Small, offered a possible explanation during that meeting, the lawyers said. "I said to him, 'How did your DNA get into this evidence?' " Ruebner said [Ralph Ruebner, a professor at John Marshall Law School, has been representing Holman during the last 11 years of his appeal], "And he said, 'I handled the slide without gloves. I may have touched my nose and then the slide.‘ He did not believe he was bleeding at any time when he handled the slide, but he thought perhaps he may have had a small cut that could not be seen or wasn't bleeding due to the roughness of the slide." http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-07-27/news/9907270175_1_crime-lab-dna-testing-illinois-state-police-crime Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination From the Quality Manual Program Quality Manual v2.3 (02.28.2008)… 15.2.2. Laboratory Housekeeping 15.2.2.1. Laboratory areas must be kept clean and free of relevant contamination. 15.2.2.2. General building cleaning and non-regulated trash removal is the responsibility of Facilities Management. 15.2.2.3. Lab specific cleaning and/or decontamination is the responsibility of knowledgeable IFS staff. 15.2.2.4. Each laboratory is responsible for developing, implementing, and documenting applicable leaning/decontamination procedures. Click to advance
  • Dust/Contamination near work areas “DNA Standards” storage area Pictures from 04.06.2009 Dust/Contamination near work areas Evidence analysis area; Microscope area on opposite side Pictures from 04.06.2009 Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination From SWIFS’s Environmental Health and Safety Program v2.0, Chemical Safety Plan… 5.4.13. Lab Coat 5.4.13.1. A fluid resistant lab coat or similar garment is required when it may be reasonably expected that potentially infectious material may flake, drip, splash, spray, drop, or otherwise contaminate work clothes. Lab coats stacked on top of one another, rarely laundered. Box fan used several times in the summer by the analysts during times of evidence examination. Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#26, page 26)… “… despite the fact that the use of the fan had been reviewed and okayed by the Supervisor because it did not present a quality issue, the use of the fan was terminated by the Section Chief in order to avoid a potential future quality issue…” No CAR was issued by Management. Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination No buccal swabs or hair standards submitted to monitor inadvertent contamination by numerous news media personnel, camera crews, photographers, Assistant DAs, and other non-scientists parading through lab. http://www.txcn.com/sharedcontent/dws/wfaa/localnews/news8/stories/wfaa091020_kd_whitely.2388fbe0a.html Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Victim Item of Evidence “Unknown DNA Profile” may be uploaded into CODIS. Suspect Slides from CSI:Dallas.ppt – Stacy McDonald Click to advance
  • Testimony of Dwight E. Adams, Deputy Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, FBI Before the House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations June 12, 2001 “The FBI's DNA Program” The DNA Identification Act of 1994 [contained within the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and hereinafter referred to as "DNA Act"] provided the statutory authority for creation of the National DNA Index System (NDIS) and specified the type of data that could be included in this national index. Only the following types of DNA data may be stored in the national index administered by the FBI Director: •DNA identification records of persons convicted of crimes; •analyses of DNA samples recovered from crime scenes; •analyses of DNA samples recovered from unidentified human remains; and •analyses of DNA samples voluntarily contributed from relatives of missing persons. See 42 U.S.C.S. §14132(a). http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress01/dwight061201.htm Click to advance
  • Testimony of Dwight E. Adams, Deputy Assistant Director, Laboratory Division, FBI Before the House Committee on Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations June 12, 2001 “The FBI's DNA Program” The Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories [hereinafter referred to as "Quality Assurance Standards"] cover the following subjects: organization and management, personnel, facilities, evidence control, validation, analytical procedures, equipment calibration and maintenance, reports, review, proficiency testing, corrective action, audits, safety, and use of subcontractor laboratories. Several of the quality assurance standards specifically address contamination. Standard 6.1 provides that the laboratory "shall have a facility that is designed to provide adequate security and minimize contamination." "The laboratory shall ensure that the laboratory follows written procedures for monitoring, cleaning and decontaminating facilities and equipment." See Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories, Standard 6.1.4. This means that during the annual audit of the laboratory, the laboratory will need to identify their procedures designed to minimize contamination as well as document that those procedures are in place and have been followed. http://www.fbi.gov/congress/congress01/dwight061201.htm Click to advance
  • JUSTICE FOR ALL ACT OF 2004 The Justice for All Act of 2004 (H.R. 5107, Public Law 108-405) (the Act) was signed into law by President George W. Bush on October 30, 2004. Sec. 203. Expansion of Combined DNA Index System. CODIS -- the national database of DNA identification information – is currently limited to analyses of DNA samples from convicted offenders, crime scenes, unidentified human remains, and missing persons. This section expands CODIS to allow the inclusion of virtually any DNA information that a State chooses to collect, with two exceptions: DNA profiles of arrestees who have not been charged in an indictment or information, and DNA samples that are voluntarily submitted solely for elimination purposes. Click to advance
  • The problems at SWIFS parallel those problems of the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory. From The Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories DNA/Serology Section – Houston PD Crime Lab, December 12-13, 2002… From The Final Report of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room, Michael R. Bromwich, Independent Investigator, June 13, 2007… (page 129) … Generally accepted forensic sciences principles applicable during this period required forensic laboratories to maintain a database of profiles of each member of the laboratory for every method employed by the laboratory in order to help detect contamination by lab analysts. … We also have found no evidence that the Crime Lab staff used this information when reviewing DNA typing data as a check against possible contamination. … http://www.hpdlabinvestigation.org Click to advance
  • Potential Trace evidence and DNA evidence cross-contamination Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, Second Edition Federal Judicial Center 2000 Page 515, footnote 140. 140. Standard protocols include the amplification of blank control samples—those to which no DNA has been added. If carry-over contaminants have found their way into the reagents or sample tubes, these will be detected as amplification products. Outbreaks of carry-over contamination can also be recognized by monitoring test results. Detection of an unexpected and persistent genetic profile in different samples indicates a contamination problem. When contamination outbreaks are detected, appropriate corrective actions should be taken, and both the outbreak and the corrective action should be documented. See DAB Standards, supra note 115; TWGDAM Guidelines, supra note 114. SWIFS did not routinely collect and compare employee DNA profiles with “unknown” profiles found during evidence analysis (until April 2009). SWIFS does not have a complete employee DNA profile database which includes past analysts that are no longer employed at SWIFS. Therefore, employee DNA profiles could have been (and still could be) uploaded into CODIS as an “unknown” profile, violating the Justice for All Act 2004. Note: An employee DNA profile database was created after the TFSC and TX DPS received the anonymous Report 03.16.2009 and Addendum 03.30.2009. No buccal swab was collected from a Trainee who was later terminated from employment for reporting this oversight to the TFSC and TxDPS. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Problems with DNA Database Management From The DOJ Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, Audit Report GR-80-10-002, “Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas County, Texas”, December 2009… Click to advance
  • City crime lab director fired Database update reveals employees' DNA tainted evidence, throwing lab's reliability into question By Julie Bykowicz and Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun reporters August 21, 2008 Baltimore crime analysts have been contaminating evidence with their own DNA - a revelation that led to the dismissal this week of the city Police Department's crime lab director and prompted questions yesterday from defense attorneys and forensic experts about the professionalism of the state's biggest and busiest crime lab. Edgar Koch, who had been the city lab's director for the past decade, was fired Tuesday because of the DNA contamination and other "operational issues," said police spokesman Sterling Clifford. He declined to elaborate on the other issues and said no one else was terminated. City officials said the employee contamination did not lead to anyone being falsely accused of a crime, and they played down its importance. But Baltimore's top public defender called the findings "atrocious" and Baltimore State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy said she has asked her senior staff to review the potential impact on open and closed cases. By introducing their own DNA into crime evidence, lab employees may have created more work for detectives and made prosecutions harder, as the presence of unknown DNA can leave the impression of a phantom suspect, experts said. Defense attorneys said any flaws in the city's handling of DNA could raise broader questions about evidence that is generally considered infallible. As testing becomes more sophisticated and new standards for labs emerge, cities across the country, including Houston and Seattle, have been discovering contamination issues that in some cases led to convictions being overturned. "There are some concerns," Mayor Sheila Dixon said. "We don't have the details yet to know if these cases are in jeopardy, so I can't speak on that publicly yet." Continued on next page… Click to advance
  • Continued from previous page… The problem in Baltimore came to light when a new DNA supervisor in the lab, Rana Santos, began entering employee DNA samples into a database and comparing them against "unknown" genetic profiles found in evidence from crime scenes. Santos' work has revealed about a dozen instances out of 2,500 in which a previously unknown genetic profile turned out to be that of a lab employee, Clifford said. The analysis is continuing, he said, with more employees' DNA being entered into the database and more unknown samples being re-examined. Reached at home yesterday, Koch, a former Anne Arundel County police officer who developed the forensics lab there, said supervisors had mistakenly believed since 2005 that the lab staff's DNA samples had been entered into the database when they had in fact been sitting on a shelf. He said he notified Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III when the oversight was discovered. He said Bealefeld was "not happy" and told him to resign late Tuesday. "I was there 12 years and never had any issues," Koch said, adding that he was never informed of any other concerns with his job performance. "That's good personnel in there, and they should not be knocked for everything. I think [the criticism] is blown out of proportion.“ Several experts, including the director of the national crime lab accreditation board, said they were surprised that Baltimore had failed to take what they called the basic step of cataloging the employees' DNA. "It's a uniformly standard practice of laboratories doing DNA testing," said Ralph Keaton, director of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. That board accredited Baltimore's lab in December 2006. Keaton said that maintaining an employee database is not a requirement of accreditation but that not doing so is all but unheard of. After learning about Baltimore's contamination from reporters and a public defender yesterday, Keaton said he would call the Police Department to follow up but did not say whether the lab's accreditation could be at risk. Two local agencies, the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore County Police, said they have always maintained DNA databases of laboratory employees who come into contact with the samples. Police spokesman Bill Toohey said that since Baltimore County began testing DNA in 2001, the first step in any analysis has always been to test samples against the staff profiles. Clifford stressed that the contamination "didn't produce false positives," meaning that no suspects were inadvertently identified because of the lab's mistakes. He said the city crime lab and its DNA section were fully operational yesterday. "Fewer than 15 known incidents of staff contamination over seven years isn't the kind of thing that holds up lab operations," Clifford said. But Patrick Kent, chief of the forensics division at the state public defender's office, said police are "talking out of both sides of their mouth." Continued on next page… Click to advance
  • Continued from previous page… "They're saying, 'Oh, it's not a problem at all,' and on the other hand they have fired the crime lab director," Kent said. "And I can tell you that never happens. Crime lab directors are only fired when you have some serious quality control violations." Baltimore Public Defender Elizabeth Julian said her office is researching the cases directly affected by the problems and trying to learn more about the potential overall impact. Kent said that the number of cases of known DNA contamination matters less than the fact that there has been contamination at all. He said defense attorneys have good cause to wonder if DNA collected from suspects has been transferred to samples from crime scene evidence. "Contamination of any sort shows that there has, in fact, been a failure of lab practices," he said. "Any suggestion that is not a systemic problem simply shows a lack of basic understanding of how a lab should operate." Dean Wideman, a forensic expert in San Antonio, Texas, said the contamination reflects poorly on the individual analysts and on the lab itself. "It comes down to technique and carelessness - either way, it shouldn't happen that often," Wideman said. "It's bad for that analyst as well as the credibility of the lab. It's a reflection of the kind of work being done and the way they process samples in general." Koch said that contamination does occur but called criticism a "smoke screen" and an attempt to "taint a jury pool by making accusations." A 2004 report in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer found that forensic scientists at the Washington State Patrol laboratory had contaminated tests or made other mistakes while handling DNA evidence in at least 23 cases involving major crimes over a three-year period, including eight instances in which analysts contaminated samples with their own DNA. And in 2003 the Houston Police Department suspended DNA testing and disciplined nine crime laboratory employees after an audit revealed that thousands of cases had to be retested because of errors in DNA analysis and possible contamination of samples. Evidence of DNA mishandling there resulted in a handful of convictions being overturned. Practices in Baltimore's crime lab have been called into question before. Three years ago, Kent's forensics division launched a campaign against the crime lab's methods of analyzing gunshot residue, tiny particles left behind when a gun is fired. Police practices and disorganization at the lab led to contamination and unreliable gunshot residue test results, Kent said. He said his office is still sifting through years of cases to check for potentially false gunshot residue tests. Kent said the city's lab has been "consistently unable to produce accurate scientific analysis" and Koch's dismissal is "years overdue." Koch was paid about $105,000 last year. Sharon Talmadge will serve as acting director of the lab, which has 114 employees, including 22 in the DNA section. Click to advance
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  • The problems at SWIFS parallel those problems of the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory. From The Final Report of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room, Michael R. Bromwich, Independent Investigator, June 13, 2007… … (page 7) “...With very few exceptions, the technical errors we identified in the Crime Lab’s historical cases were not attributable to misconduct on the part of individual analysts. Rather, the major issues that we identified in the Crime Lab’s historical casework are attributable in large part to poor training and lack of competent technical guidance. We found documents reflecting DNA analysts’ frustrations and concerns over the lack of training...” (page 8) “...there also was a lack of strong and effective leadership within the Lab...” (page 8) “...rarely met with Crime Lab analysts as a group...” (page 9) “...the desperate need for a direct supervisor over the DNA/Serology Section...” (page 9) “...We also found that there was inadequate management of the strong and difficult personalities within the Crime Lab. Morale was consistently low among Crime Lab analysts and discontent was widespread...” (page 9) “...personnel problems fostered a highly dysfunctional, and, in some respects unprofessional, laboratory environment...” (page 9) “...Managers and supervisors within the Crime Lab failed to ensure that the analytical and quality control procedures employed by the Lab were current, properly designed, and complete. SOPs for most of the sections in the Crime Lab, including the DNA/Serology Section, consisted of procedures and reference materials cobbled together over time without periodic re- evaluation and reorganization…” (page 10) “…Flawed practices and embedded misunderstandings...became accepted by analysts within the DNA/Serology Section as the correct way to do things…” … http://www.hpdlabinvestigation.org Click to advance
  • After several verbal communications from analysts about concerns of scientific, technical, and procedural errors in the out-of-date SPM v1.0, Management finally decided to correct errors and update the SPM… Subject: Serology Procedures Manual Creation Date: Mon, Aug 11, 2008 10:14 AM From: Stacy Mcdonald To: [all FBU lab analysts] I am in the process of revising the Serology Procedures Manual. A copy of the current manual has been placed on the breakroom table. If you have any suggestions for revisions, etc. please mark them on that copy. For this week, I would like individuals to review the sections on brentamine, microscopic examination of smears, ALS, collection and storage of test areas, and the P30 assay. Please have your revisions/suggestions completed by Friday of this week. Thanks, Stacy ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: serology manual Creation Date: Mon, Aug 18, 2008 2:10 PM From: Stacy Mcdonald To: [all FBU lab analysts] This week (by Friday) review the blood sections. Three months later, the lack of Management response prompted a memo from a trainee to Quality Manager on 11.25.2008 listing several (but not all) of the errors in the SPM v1.0. The memo was presented to the Executive Committee which includes Dr. Tim Sliter. (Supervisor Dr. Stacy McDonald was on maternity leave from mid-October to mid-December.) New SPM v2.0 was implemented 02.04.2009…6 months after this email from Dr. Stacy McDonald. SPM v2.1 is implemented on 02.13.2009…with a correction in a chart that had been erroneous since the pre-2001 SPM. Other errors still remained in the new SPM v2.1. New errors were introduced. Click to advance
  • The problems at SWIFS parallel those problems of the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory. From a memo written by a Trainee to Quality Manager Karen Young, who subsequently presented it to Dr. Tim Sliter and Dr. Stacy McDonald, 11.25.2008… “…the Forensic Biology Unit's SPM v1.0 is significantly and critically seven (7) years out-of-date…” “…a large number of procedures stated in the SPM v1.0 are obsolete, erroneous, and in some instances, contradictory to the procedures expected to be performed by the serologists…” “…changes in protocol procedures which, over the years, have been verbally communicated to the analysts. These additions and changes have not been documented via Memo, email or any other official SWIFS document as is required by the QMPQM 2.3/4…” “…This means of communicating "protocol" to the analysts has lead to dissemination of incorrect and incomplete information, and misinterpretation of correct lab procedures by members of the lab. Consistency and reproducibility in lab procedures vanishes as one analyst performs their tasks differently than another analyst…” “…The lax in enforcement of the QMPQM has also given the analysts the perception that introduction of procedural steps…is an acceptable practice...” “…logical explanation and rational reasoning behind the steps and procedures of the original 2001 protocol become lost, misunderstood, or convoluted by the analysts…” “…These problems with SPM v1.0 have been directly related to the frustration of the new forensic biologists undergoing Serology Training…” “…The Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1), also, has not been updated sine 11-27-01…” From The Final Report of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room, Michael R. Bromwich, Independent Investigator, 06.13.2007… (page 41) “...members of the DNA/Serology Section raised concerns about the lack of consistency among analysts in the Section in adhering to the SOPs as well as the lack of specificity in some areas of the SOPs. This lack of specificity in the SOPs, said DNA/Serology analyst Maurita Carrejo in a 1994 memorandum provided to Dr. Sharma, could be used as a “weapon” against line analysts in the Section. Another analyst, Christy Kim, complained about the lack of training, stating that “I need to have a scheduled and more solid training in PCR.” In a staff survey conducted by Mr. Bolding in November 1994, members of the DNA/Serology Section complained about “destructive comments,” “cultural bias,” lack of standardized SOPs, and favoritism...” Click to advance
  • Online access to “Official” SWIFS Policies, Procedures, Protocols, etc. Documents editable only by Management Click to advance
  • “SWIFS Ethics and Data Integrity Training” (12.09.2008).ppt Authored by Quality Manager Karen Young Lack of proper documentation and incomplete SPM makes this impossible. Karen Young Click to advance
  • From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…The Trainee is of the opinion that the Serology Procedure Manual is deficient in succinctness, understandability, and has out of date procedures… It is the position of the Institute that this criticism is unfounded…” Surprisingly… Within the same memorandum…from SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint… Complaint #7, page 13 “…The trainee correctly notes that in the protocol for performing microscopic examination of sexual assault kit smears, the category for estimating the approximate number of spermatozoa on smears does not include the range of 8-14 spermatozoa…In the revised protocol (effective 2/13/209) the category now covers the ranges of 1-10 (Rare) and 11-20 (Occasional)…” Complaint #9, page 14 “…The Trainee is correct that the practice of the laboratory regarding storage of swabs from autopsy sexual assault kits differs from the guidance given in the manual…The manual was subsequently revised to reflect this practice in February 2009 as part of a broader revision of the manual…” Complaint #10, page 15 “…The Serology Procedures Manual specifies that condoms should be stored in a freezer until analysis…The Institute is in agreement with the Trainee that the manual requires updating to reflect the practices of the laboratory…” Complaint #14, page 17 “…The Trainee is of the opinion that a statement in one of the serology protocols that describes the placement of an “Item Stored” label on the packaging of evidence items that have been stored does not reflect current practice…The Committee agreed that the practice of placing an item stored sticker was not current and that the manual needed to be revised to remove this…” Complaint #18, page 19 “…The Institute agrees with the Trainee that certain retired procedures can be removed from the Serology Procedures Manual…” Although… From “Texas Forensic Science Commission releases details about allegations of critical lapses at crime labs” , Yamil Berard, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 01.12.2010… “…The Dallas County district attorney’s office rebutted each allegation made in the complaint in its response filed with the commission and made available to the Star-Telegram…” Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines Management received this recommendation just prior to ASCLD-LAB accreditation… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs, 08.21.2002… …and ignored it. The Serology Procedure Manual remained virtually unchanged from 11.12.2001 to 02.04.2009 Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From the DNA Advisory Board (DAB) Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories, 10.01.1998… STANDARD 14.1 The laboratory shall establish and follow procedures for corrective action whenever proficiency testing discrepancies and/or casework errors are detected. However, 7 months later, written procedures are not found… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs, 01.28.2002… and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs, 08.21.2002… No comments Click to advance
  • Memo sent to all submitting agencies explaining the changes in SWIFS FBU Policy and Procedures for processing Sexual Assault Kits and Toxicology Kits, dated 02.13.2002. Management did not amend the SPM v1.0 (implemented 11.12.2001) to include these changes. Memo is not an addendum to SPM v1.0. This memo was serendipitously found within a binder in the lab…unknown to analysts. Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0, page 22… This is the only information on this page in the SPM v1.0… …and the page should have been removed when the test was discontinued in the lab. This information remained in the SPM v1.0 until 02.04.2009. Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines Subject: Bleaching of serology pipettes Example #1 Creation Date: 12/1/2008 4:13:31 PM From: Stacy Mcdonald To: [all FBU analysts] From this point forward, the pipettes in the serology laboratory should be bleached before and after each use. If you have any questions, please see me. In regards to the above email, there was no change in the SPM v2.0 or v2.1 (implemented on 02.04.2009 and 02.13.2009, respectively). Analysts are unsure if this is mandatory and a permanent change in the SPM v1.0. Subject: Dr.'s Report Only Creation Date: 12/12/2008 3:16:33 PM Example #2 From: A Trainer To: [All FBU analysts] Hey everyone :) Dr. Sliter would like us to alter the way we are reporting out Dr.'s report only cases. His concern is that we are putting a "Disposition of Evidence" section, when, infact, there is no evidence. In place of the "Disposition of Evidence" section, he would like us to write "Additional Comments". Also, as you all know, we are now adding "Admin Report - Evidence Released, No Analysis" to the front page of No Analysis reports. For Dr.'s report only cases, we will have to alter this to write "Admin Report - No Analysis", because there is no evidence to be released. If you have any questions, please come see me. I have attached a sample report to this email. Thanks! Management is solely responsible for changing the protocol in regards to writing official reports and subsequently notifying lab members of the change. Instead, a subordinate analyst was assigned to send this email to everyone in the lab. There was no documented change in the SPM v2.0 or v2.1 following this email. (Although, the SPM does not explicitly mention how reports are to be written or the language to be used. Analysts use their own statements in the reports.) Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From SWIFS Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3 (02.28.2008)… 11.4. Revision of Procedures … 11.4.3. Revisions and corrections to procedures are summarized in the front of each manual including effective date of revision, description of the change, and initials of individual authorizing the change. Procedures for Multiplex STR Analysis v1.1… v1.1 has 6 pages of Revisions and Corrections (changes from 01.24.2000 to 05.28.2008) v1.2 has only a single page (changes from 05.28.2008 to 06.24.2008). Previous pages of Revisions and Corrections missing. Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs 06.23.2008… How many corrected reports were issued prior to 2008? Trainers are responsible for reviewing reports created by the Trainees. Prior audits did not report this deficiency. Click to advance
  • Inadequate procedures and protocols per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs 06.23.2008… CODIS has been in use at SWIFS for many years. Prior audits did not report this deficiency. Click to advance
  • Other Units (Laboratories) at SWIFS mirror the Serology/DNA lab by improperly documenting experimental protocols From the ASCLD/LAB inspection report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008… Sampling and collection of GSR from clothing has been performed at SWIFS for many years in the Trace Evidence Lab. Prior audits did not report this deficiency. Click to advance
  • Errors propagated from SPM to SPM From the Serology Procedure Manual v2.1 (02.13.2009)… J.T Baker no longer sells sodium perborate (cat. #3811-05). A Trainee told Dr. Stacy McDonald this information at the time of the original discovery of the expired chemical in the lab (Summer 2008). This chemical was instead purchased from FLUKA Analytical Chemicals (received 10.23.2008). The chemical company’s name and catalog number still remained in the SPM v2.1 even after it was “updated” by Dr. Stacy McDonald in 02.13.2009. This recipe was hastily transposed exactly from the SPM v1.0 to the SPM v2.0 and v2.1. Click to advance
  • Errors propagated from SPM to SPM From the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0 (11.12.2001)… Blood Evidence Analysis … II. Evidence Examination … Latent Prints Unit was discontinued on 09.08.2003. Mr. A.J. Jumper was a latent print From the Serology Procedures Manual v2.1 (02.13.2009)… examiner for SWIFS and has not been employed by SWIFS for several years. Blood Evidence Analysis … II. Evidence Examination … iv. If it is necessary to preserve a portion of an item for other analyses (e.g. Latent Prints), those portions need not be tested unless deemed necessary after those analyses are complete. This information must be noted on the worksheet (e.g. This portion preserved for possible latent print analysis per A.J. Jumper 9-11-01). This incorrect information was hastily transposed exactly from the SPM v1.0 to the SPM v2.0 and v2.1. Click to advance
  • Errors propagated from SPM to SPM pre-2001 SPM SPM v1.0 (11.12.2001) *missing 8-14 range *missing 8-14 range B. If spermatozoa are seen on the smear, the spermatozoa are to be described B. If spermatozoa are seen on the smear, the spermatozoa are to be described as as intact (head and tail) or heads only. intact (head and tail) or heads only. i. The following guidelines are used to approximate the number of i. The following guidelines are used to approximate the number of spermatozoa seen on the slide: spermatozoa seen on the slide: Term used Approximate number of sperm cells Term used Approximate number of sperm cells Rare 1-7 per slide Rare 1-10 per slide Occasional 15-20 per slide Occasional 11-20 per slide Few Greater than 20 per slide Few Greater than 20 per slide Moderate Two per field on average Moderate Two per field on average Many 3-4 per field on average Many 3-4 per field on average Serology Procedures Manual Serology Procedures Manual MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATION OF SMEARS FOR SPERMATOZOA (2.4.2009) MICROSCOPIC EXAMINATION OF SMEARS FOR SPERMATOZOA (2.13.2009) SPM v2.0 (02.04.2009) SPM v2.1 (02.13.2009) *still missing 8-14 range *error finally corrected Click to advance
  • Scientifically erroneous protocol and Management cover-up Not water Water does not have “buffering capacity”. Therefore, using water (instead of the HemaTrace extraction buffer) does not guarantee the pH of the test to be between the required pH 1.0 and 9.0. Also, water does not guarantee complete lysis of the blood cells (to release the hemoglobin for detection.) For these reasons, water is not supplied with the HemaTrace Test Kit. However… Click to advance
  • Scientifically erroneous protocol and Management cover-up In the SPM v1.0 deionized water was erroneously stated as the negative control for the HemaTrace test. HemaTrace Extraction Buffer was erroneously omitted as the negative control. From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#3, page 10)… “…it was determined that analysts in the laboratory had been conducting the lot QC test in variance of the written protocol, and had been substituting buffer for water in the negative QC test of new lots of test cards…” However… From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…It is therefore the expectation of supervisors that analysts will a) follow the written protocols; b) bring to the attention of supervisors situations that arise that are outside the scope covered by the written protocols; and c) bring to the attention of supervisors quality concerns related to a perceived failure of another analyst to follow a written protocol…” This error remained unchanged in the SPM v1.0 from 2003 to 2009. This means analysts were not following the written protocols for this test for at least 6 years, and no one reported this to Supervisors… Or… The Supervisors disregarded those analysts who reported the discrepancies. Click to advance
  • Scientifically erroneous protocol and Management cover-up After being notified by a trainee, the Management changed the protocol in the SPM v2.0 to include the HemaTrace extraction buffer as the negative control (#1). From the SPM v2.0, Appendix 1, Reagents and Solutions: Preparation, Storage, and QC (02.04.2009)… … C. Evaluation of Test Results and Responses to Test Results 1. Evaluate the negative control. a. The negative control is expected to give a negative result. b. If the negative control fails (i.e., gives a positive or inconclusive result), it may indicate that: i. The extraction buffer provided with the kits contains human hemoglobin at concentrations above 0.5 μg/ml. ii. The lot of test devices is faulty. c. If the negative control gives a positive result, then repeat the test using two different negative controls. i. Negative control #1: 150 μl of the extraction buffer provided with the new lot of kits. ii. Negative control #2: 150 μl of deionized water. d. If both negative controls give a negative result, the lot passes negative QC. e. If either negative control #1 or negative control #2 fails (i.e., gives a positive or inconclusive result), then the failure will be reported to a supervisor for evaluation. … However, the Management retained the erroneous deionized water as the negative control #2 for the purpose of “legitimizing” its use as a negative control for this test in the lab from 2003 to 2009. It is also suspected that deionized water was erroneously used as the negative control instead of the HemaTrace extraction buffer during the required Validation experiments performed just prior to implementation of the HemaTrace test for use in the lab in 2003. Click to advance
  • “SWIFS Ethics and Data Integrity Training” (12.09.2008).ppt Authored by Quality Manager Karen Young Karen Young Click to advance
  • Management is aware of problems related to falsifying controls From: Dr. Tim Sliter To: [All FBU Analysts] Date: Tue, Nov 4, 2008 11:53 AM Subject: Fwd: breath test fraud >>> Elizabeth Todd 11/04/08 11:06 AM >>> FYI: following is a link to the most recent article about the Houston area Technial Supervisor. Elizabeth Texas DPS says inspector faked records, jeopardizing 2,600 DWI cases Friday, October 24, 2008 By EMILY RAMSHAW / The Dallas Morning News AUSTIN – At least 2,600 Houston-area DWI arrests are now in question, after a Department of Public Safety contractor failed to inspect breath analysis equipment – and faked records to show that she had. Breath test instruments must be checked and calibrated once a month to ensure accuracy. DPS officials believe the contractor, whom they haven't identified, may have been falsifying inspection records for up to a year at eight Houston-area police departments. She was not working in other parts of the state. "Once DPS found reason to believe that these records had been altered, we suspended the supervisor's certification and opened up a criminal investigation,"said Col. Stan Clark, interim DPS director. "These are serious allegations and we will not tolerate any activities that call into question the integrity of the breath test system" Click to advance
  • From STRENGTHENING FORENSIC SCIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES: A PATH FORWARD, National Academy of Sciences, February 2009, (page 26)… Recommendation 8: Forensic laboratories should establish routine quality assurance and quality control procedures to ensure the accuracy of forensic analyses and the work of forensic practitioners. Quality control procedures should be designed to identify mistakes, fraud, and bias; confirm the continued validity and reliability of standard operating procedures and protocols; ensure that best practices are being followed; and correct procedures and protocols that are found to need improvement. Click to advance
  • Use of incorrect positive controls is acceptable practice to Trainer and Supervisor From the Serological Competency Examination (Ouchterlony test), 05.27.2008 / 06.06.2008… Initials of trainer Lot# of anti-serum is recorded (and traceable), but positive controls are not. According to the SPM v1.0, the correct positive control is human serum, not whole blood (no dilution is mentioned.) However… From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…the chemical composition of a test reagent can not be varied, nor can the standards for QC testing reagents…” Click to advance
  • Use of incorrect positive controls is acceptable practice to Trainer and Supervisor From a trainee’s Serological Competency Examination, 06.01.2008… This is actually an incorrect answer (according to the SPM v1.0), but acceptable to the Trainer and Supervisor. As stated in the SPM v1.0, the positive control is a dilution of p30 semen standard purchased (and traceable) from Serological Research Institute (SERI). From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…the chemical composition of a test reagent can not be varied, nor can the standards for QC testing reagents…” Click to advance
  • Use of incorrect positive controls is acceptable practice to Trainer and Supervisor From a Trainee’s Serological Competency Examination, 06.01.2008… This is actually an incorrect answer Additional notations by Supervisor Dr. Stacy McDonald (according to the SPM v1.0), but (or the Trainer). acceptable to the Trainer and Supervisor. This is the correct answer according to the SPM v1.0. The SPM v1.0 states to use human serum, not blood. However… The SPM does not state this. From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#5, page 12)… A Trainee was disciplined (and subsequently terminated from employment) for using more negative controls than “…The protocol calls for a minimum of one extraction negative stated in the SPM. control per plate. At the discretion of the analyst, more than one negative control per plate can be used…” “At the discretion of the analyst” is a fallacy in the SWIFS’s lab. From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#12, page 16)… “…the chemical composition of a test reagent can not be varied, nor can the standards for QC testing reagents…” Click to advance
  • Lab Report Worksheets, Unknown Controls Used ABAcard HemaTrace test added to SPM v1.0 on 09.30.2003 ABAcard p30 test added to SPM v1.0 on 12.11.2002 What was used as the negative control? What was used as the positive control? 1.) Deionized water (as required in the SPM v1.0, 1.) Human semen (as stated on the worksheet) Appendix I, unknown page number) *scientifically incorrect negative control Or Or 2.) Semen standard or SERI p30 standard (as stated in the SPM v1.0, OneStep:ABAcard 2.) HemaTrace Buffer (as required in the SPM v1.0, p30 test for the identification of semen, page OneStep:ABAcard HemaTrace test for the Forensic 2, B.7.) See also “unofficial” serology lab Identification of human blood, unknown page, C.b.1) protocol. *scientifically correct negative control Click to advance
  • Lab Report Worksheets, Unknown Controls Used Extra “Unofficial” Protocols (not in SPM v1.0) for preparing the positive controls for serology tests The lab does not use (nor has ever used) lyophilized semen. (lypophilized = freeze-dried) There are several different protocols for preparing positive control swabs. None is documented in the SPM. Click to advance
  • Lab Report Worksheets, Unknown Controls Used Yes No N/A After evaluating bench notes, data, and other documents which form the basis for the scientific conclusion described in a final report written by the primary analyst, a secondary analyst (Reviewer) records on a Technical Review Cover Sheet that all lab policies and procedures relating to the report have been completed adequately (i.e. no “No” responses.) Click to advance
  • Lab Report Worksheets, Unknown Controls Used Surprisingly… From the ASCLD/LAB Inspection Report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Other Units (Laboratories) at SWIFS mirror the Serology/DNA lab by improperly using or documenting experimental controls and standards. From the ASCLD/LAB inspection report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008… Were controls being used and documented prior to March 10, 2008? Were standards being used prior to May 5, 2008? Prior audits did not find these deficiencies. Click to advance
  • FBI analyst Jacqueline Blake Fails to Use Proper Control Samples and Falsifies Documentation Unfortunately, the problems at SWIFS parallel those problems of the FBI Click to advance
  • FBI analyst Jacqueline Blake Fails to Use Proper Control Samples and Falsifies Documentation From “The FBI DNA Laboratory: A Review of Protocol and Practice Vulnerabilities”, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, May 2004… “…An important step in the DNA testing procedures that Blake was obligated to follow is the processing of control samples that identify whether contamination has been introduced during the testing process, called negative control tests…” “…Blake consistently failed to complete these control tests. Her omissions rendered her work scientifically invalid and unusable in court…” “…Without proper processing of the negative controls…is not able to rule out the possibility that contamination, rather than the evidence under examination, is the source of the testing results…” “…In addition to omitting the negative control tests, Blake falsified her laboratory documentation…” …[Blake said], ”I was misrepresenting that the negative control samples were properly prepared”… “…[Blake’s] actions caused substantial adverse effects in at least five respects:…” “…required the removal of 29 DNA profiles from the national registry of DNA profiles…Past crimes thus may remain unsolved…” “…has delayed the delivery of reliable DNA reports to contributors of DNA evidence…” “…submitted evidence was consumed…new evidence samples cannot be obtained…” “…adversely impacted the resources of the FBI and DOJ…thousands of hours of work…funding expended...” “…damaged intangibly the credibility of the FBI Laboratory…” www.justice.gov/oig/special/0405/final.pdf Click to advance
  • “SWIFS Ethics and Data Integrity Training” (12.09.2008).ppt Authored by Quality Manager Karen Young Karen Young SWIFS FBU trainers could not follow or train to the documents because both the Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0 (SPM v1.0) had not been updated since 2001 (both co-written by Dr. Tim Sliter). The Trainees were blamed for the inadequacies. Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#19, page 20)… “…In fact, the Serology Training Guide is not an instructional manual for trainers…By conscious and intentional design, the Serology Training Guide is a document for trainers and managers that outlines the structure and format of the training program. As a guide for trainers and managers, it includes a specific checklist of training objectives that must be met by each trainee at each stage of the training… the trainees are not trained to the Serology Training Guide…” Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers From the Serology Training Guide v1.1… The STG v1.1 is 13 pages total (which includes 2 pages of questions and 1 page for a blank checklist.) There is no mention of a “Re-training” Guideline or Program. Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#19, page 20)… “…The training program has been used to train approximately 12 analysts over that last several years. One analyst successfully completed her training in 2008, and there are three trainees who are currently completing their training…We, therefore, contend that our staff members who successfully complete the Serology training are competently trained professionals…” A SWIFS trainee with 5 years prior experience and training in a serology lab from the New York State Police Crime Laboratory never completed training and ended his employment after approx. 17 months. A SWIFS trainee with 10 years prior experience and training from the DNA lab at Orchid Cellmark in Dallas, Texas never completed training and ended her employment after approx. 26 months to return to Orchid Cellmark. A SWIFS trainee with a Master’s degree in Forensics (no prior experience in a forensics lab) completed training after approx. 19 months. Another SWIFS trainee with no prior experience or training becomes a qualified SWIFS serologist after 8 months training. At the mock trial (final test), this trainee… …did not know the difference between a competency test and a proficiency test… …did not know the name of the accreditation agency for SWIFS… …did not know the role of the Department of Public Safety in accreditation… …had never heard of the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Current trainers have (on average) 2 years forensic experience at SWIFS. All current SWIFS analysts (except one) were trained using the STG v1.1 (implemented 2001.) Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers From the SWIFS Serology Training Guide v1.1… discontinued ??? Unit discontinued on September 8, 2003 Not included… 1. ABAcard p30 test for semen (12.11.2002) 2. ABAcard HemaTrace test for blood (09.03.2003) 3. Post-conviction evidence archive research (01.16.2003) 4. No reference to ASCLD accreditation guidelines 5. No reference for Expert Witness legal guidance Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#13, page 17)… “…Relevant references regarding serology technical procedures are included in the Serology Training Manual as required reading for Serology trainees…” From the SWIFS Serology Training Guide v1.1… Only 10 scientific articles are required reading for trainees. The most current scientific article is from 1983. The earliest is from 1974. This scientific article references a technique no longer used in the serology lab. None of these scientific articles addresses the specific Brentamine Reagent protocol used in the Serology Lab. Click to advance
  • Outdated Serology Training Guide v1.1 (STG v1.1) and inexperienced trainers Wrongful Convictions and Forensic Science: The Need to Regulate Crime Labs Paul C. Ginnelli, Case Western Reserve University, North Carolina Law Review Forthcoming; Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-02. January 2008 … Dr. Howard Harris, the former head of the New York City police crime lab from 1974 to 1985 and a former president of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, was asked to examine the Chicago police crime laboratory in connection with a civil suit. In his findings, Harris described the lab as “disorganized, poorly supervised, almost completely lacking in written procedures and performance standards, and staffed by inadequately trained workers.” He noted that “records management ‘was relegated to the lowest ranking employees in the laboratory, who were provided with minimal training and seemingly an almost complete lack of written procedures and standards of performance.’ ” Further, “[t]here was no system to ensure that all relevant materials were sent in response to a subpoena, and ‘laboratory senior supervisory personnel did not seem to know if there were any records of what was actually sent.’ ” … http://ssrn.com/abstract=1083735 The Justice Project / Profiles of Donald Reynolds and Billy Wardell … Dr. Howard Harris, a former head of the New York City police crime lab and former president of the American Society of Crime Lab Directors, prepared a report at the request of attorneys for Reynolds and Wardell, in which he identified many shortcomings in the Chicago Crime Lab. Prominent among them were a lack of training and guidelines regarding presentation of testimony, and a lack of monitoring of testimony that could serve as a check on misleading characterizations of results. “Failure to train and/or monitor examiners’ courtroom testimony can lead to serious deviations from proper testimony,” wrote Harris. … http://www.thejusticeproject.org/profiles/donald-reynolds-and-billy-wardell/ Click to advance
  • Trainees received outdated versions of Official SWIFS Manuals from Management on first day of employment, March 2008 SWIFS FBU Procedure for Laboratory Maintenance v2.0 SWIFS FBU Quality Management Program v1.1 (implemented on 10.20.2002) (implemented 09.30.2002) (v2.1 implemented on 01.24.2008) (v1.2 implemented on 02.27.2008) Click to advance
  • Trainees tested on incorrect version of Training Program Page 1 Page 2 Non-existent version There is no “Program”, only a “Guide” Several trainees have taken this test. Management never corrected this simple mistake. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect evidence handling procedures by inexperienced trainers However… “Quality Issues in Forensic Laboratory Science” (2004).ppt – Dr. Tim Sliter Management chooses to believe that policies and procedures are clear and comprehensive, and that analysts and trainers know and follow these lab policies and procedures. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect evidence handling procedures by inexperienced trainers Sexual Assault Kits retrieved from PMH lockbox with red evidence tape sealing two sides of box. No initials by Police Officer/Submitter on red evidence tape. According to Supervisors, this is acceptable. Under trainer’s supervision, items were not correctly sealed by trainees before submitting item to Evidence Registration. (Sexual Assault Kits must be sealed, dated, and initialed on two sides.) Example #1 Example #2 "CC 10/3/08" written across yellow "AN 08/25/08" written across yellow evidence evidence tape by trainee. Opposite side tape (on side of box.) Opposite side of box of box not sealed and initialed by trainee. not sealed and initialed by trainee. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect evidence handling procedures by inexperienced trainers From the ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Report, 03.12.2003, (prepared by Rondal Bridgemon) (initial inspection 08.18-21.2002, follow-up inspection 02.19-20.2003)… However… From the Serology Procedures Manual v2.1 (02.13.2009)… I. Swab analysis using the transfer method … G. Place positive swabs into a baggie labeled with the unique Forensic Laboratory Number (FL#), and item #. i. Place the baggie in a plastic envelope labeled with the FL#, item #(s), complainant’s name, analyst’s initials, and storage date. ii. Heat seal the envelope. iii. Date and initial the seal. iv. File the envelopes in the evidence storage freezer. v. Follow proper procedure concerning documentation of evidence transfer on the internal chain (see Storage of Evidence in the Forensic Biology Freezer). Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect evidence handling procedures by inexperienced trainers Questions concerning correct procedures were never addressed and the SPM v1.0 was not changed. Analysts still uncertain about the proper sealing of evidence and the use of tamper-evident tape. Click to advance
  • Other Units (Laboratories) at SWIFS mirror the Serology/DNA lab by performing improper handling of evidence Memorandum from Quality Manager Karen Young following an internal audit, 02.25.2009… The two Evidence Registration employees have been employed at SWIFS for several years. The errors found during the internal audit are a result of poorly written protocols and confusing instructions communicated by the Management to the Registrars. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect evidence handling procedures by inexperienced trainers Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report (re-accreditation), Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect documentation procedures by inexperienced trainers Superfluous info, Unnecessary and Correct documentation Incorrect Subject: Next week Creation Date: Apr 24, 2008 12:13 PM From: Stacy Mcdonald To: FBU trainees Next week when you go to pick up kits, come get me. I will go through the entire process with you, so if you have any questions I can answer them. Stacy Procedures not specific in the SPM v1.0. Supervisor instructed trainees on her interpretation of the correct procedures (which was different from the trainer’s interpretation.) Months later, other trainees still not taught proper documentation procedures. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect documentation procedures by inexperienced trainers From the QPMQM v2.3 (02.28.2008)… 13.4. Chain of Custody – Each evidence transfer must be acknowledged at the time that the evidence is transferred. 13.4.1. Transfer of evidence between individuals must be acknowledged by both parties at the time of evidence transfer. Dr. Stacy McDonald signed this Chain of Custody without a second party’s acknowledgement. This Chain of Custody Form remained loose on the counter-top in the Serology Lab for several months (Summer and Fall 2008.) Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect documentation procedures by inexperienced trainers Management was aware that this action is a violation However, there was no CAR document received for the 2007 violation by Dr. Stacy McDonald. Actually, if protocol was followed correctly, the Chain of Custody should have never been created in the first place. From the SPM v1.0, page 30… Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect documentation procedures by inexperienced trainers Trainer’s notes Trainer informs trainee (who authored the memo) that Supervisor Dr. Stacy McDonald does not need to initial this memo which will be placed into the case file. Although the Supervisor should get a carbon-copy of the memo, without the Supervisor’s initials the Supervisor may be unaware of (and deny accountability for) the memo. Click to advance
  • Trainees often taught incorrect documentation procedures by inexperienced trainers Trainer’s note added info Trainee, who recorded conversation with Investigator, required to change telecons several days later per trainer’s note and other information verbally communicated from trainer. Learned information is routinely added to telecommunications (telecons), often several days after the original hand-written message is recorded. Click to advance
  • Prosecution Witness Put Under the Microscope Scott Cooper Oklahoma Gazzette March 09, 2005 Since the day an FBI report, describing erroneous science inside the Oklahoma City Police forensic lab, was leaked to the media nearly four years ago, the public has wondered whether this is more than just bad science. A case now pending before the state Court of Criminal Appeals could provide some answers. The case is Curtis Edward McCarty, convicted and sentenced to death for the 1982 murder of Pamela Kaye Willis. His first conviction and death sentence from 1986 was overturned. A second death sentence at the retrial in 1989 was thrown out. “Eddie” McCarty eventually was given the death penalty in 1996. Now the circumstances of the case have turned attention away from the guilty party and redirected it to the person credited with sending McCarty to prison these past 20 years-- Joyce Gilchrist. The former forensic chemist was terminated from her job of 21 years with the Oklahoma City Police Department laboratory in 2001 and publicly disgraced by numerous investigations and court rulings alleging shoddy work. Through her examinations and court testimonies, Gilchrist sent hundreds of people to prison, many to death row, some already executed. Oklahoma Gazette obtained unsealed documents from the McCarty case, in which investigators allege Gilchrist’s work is more than just shoddy. The findings include: -allegations Gilchrist may have purposely falsified reports to incriminate McCarty. -Gilchrist destroyed evidence in violation of state statutes. -Gilchrist was hired by the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office for casework after she was fired from the police department. -Gilchrist supervised a staff that routinely poured blood, possibly HIV-infected, down regular sinks. -Gilchrist may have intentionally lost or destroyed evidence that could dispute her findings. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Continued from previous slide… During the police department’s internal investigation in 2001, document examiners with the Tulsa Police Department were asked to review Gilchrist’s reports and lab notes… … Attorneys for McCarty allege Gilchrist changed the report the following year because names of other suspects are handwritten on the right side of the report. One of the names is R. Terry. More questions surface about Gilchrist’s work on the case when reporting the number of hairs examined. The police review board found a November 1983 report indicated two pubic hairs, one consistent with McCarty, and three body hairs were examined as “Item 39” for a total of five hairs. They noted the number “3” seemed to be altered from a “4.” “It appeared to the board that Gilchrist changed the number of body hairs to three and added the second pubic hair she claims is consistent with McCarty,” the board wrote in its 2001 report. The number would continue to change. In notes and a report written three days before the start of the first trial in 1986, Item 39 now consisted of four body hairs, one pubic hair and a scalp hair not mentioned in her 1983 notes. The total now is six hairs. At the trial, Gilchrist explained about identifying one pubic hair consistent with McCarty that had been “inadvertently deleted” from her report. She goes on to say four body hairs, one pubic hair and the scalp hair were examined and found not consistent with McCarty. But the total of hairs now is seven. After the 1986 conviction was overturned, Gilchrist filed an amended report three weeks before the second trial in 1989 stating Item 39 was a typographical error, not a deletion. The amended report identifies the item as one pubic hair consistent with McCarty, four body hairs and the scalp hair not consistent. The total number of hairs examined went back to six. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Continued from previous slide… The review board wondered what happened to the second pubic hair not consistent with McCarty from her previous notes and testimony… Several investigations into the matter concluded Gilchrist did eliminate McCarty and at a later time, possibly years, changed the documents to implicate him. Investigators contend that after the first conviction was overturned, due in large part to Gilchrist’s testimony, the chemist needed to get her story straight. “In my opinion, she met with somebody who showed her the (court) opinion and they had to change the forensic report to reflect her testimony, which was that one of the pubic hairs was consistent with Mr. McCarty,” said Richard Smith, assistant municipal counselor for Oklahoma City, at an evidentiary hearing last October. Smith conducted the police department investigation into Gilchrist in 2001… From Mitchell v. Gibson 262 F.3d 1036 (U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, August 13, 2001)… … Ms. Gilchrist had sent the swabs and cuttings from the panties to Special Agent Michael Vick in the FBI laboratory DNA unit. The laboratory performed DNA testing on these items and prepared a report, which was couched in convoluted language that did not clearly recite the test results. Ms. Gilchrist characterized the report at trial as inconclusive. Ms. Gilchrist also sent samples to Mr. Brian Wraxall at the Serological Research Institute in California, who determined the samples either were too small to test or did not contain semen at all. Mr. Mitchell requested and received permission to conduct discovery in this habeas proceeding. As a result, he obtained hand-written notes taken by Ms. Gilchrist during telephone conversations with Agent Vick indicating that the agent had conducted two DNA probes on the samples. These probes showed that the semen on the panties matched that of Mr. Taylor only, that no DNA was present on the rectal swab, and that the only DNA on the vaginal swab was consistent with the victim. The results thus completely undermined Ms. Gilchrist's testimony. … Click to advance
  • Repeated occurrence of identical lab analyst errors From the SPM v1.0… There is no mention that sexual assault kits containing V. Analysis of SA kits oral rinses are refrigerated upon receiving in Evidence … Registration (to prevent growth of microorganisms and B. Smears. loss of probative biological material.) … Although, all sexual assault kits remain unrefrigerated in the ObGyn-PMH lockbox until SWIFS personnel retrieves them 2-3 days later. In practice, it is the responsibility of the analyst who retrieves the evidence from the ObGyn-PMH lockbox (and inventories the contents) to notify the Evidence Registrars that the kit needs to be stored and refrigerated until the oral rinse is “processed”. A second analyst is assigned the responsibility of “processing” the oral rinse. Although no time limit for “processing” is stated in the SPM v1.0, due to the potential degradation of biological As a side note, this procedure is no longer in use. It is unknown material and growth of confounding microorganisms it is when Supervisors discontinued this procedure. It was subsequently presumed that this task is to be performed immediately… removed for the SPM v2.0 (implemented 02.04.2009) In practice, “processing” of oral rinses occurs 7-10 days after the SA kit is received. see next slide… Click to advance
  • Repeated occurrence of identical lab analyst errors From the QMPQM v2.3… 17.4.3. If an issue of concern is procedure or equipment related, all applicable analysts must be advised of the corrective action taken to minimize recurrence of the situation. As usual, no one is accountable. The author of this memo is an analyst, not a lab Supervisor. (Some identifying information has been redacted by the analyst. Also note, this memo was written almost 3 months after the error was discovered.) Other lab analysts were not notified of the error and the SPM v1.0 was not updated or changed to prevent the mistake from occurring again. This error occurred on several occasions. From a memorandum written by Dr. Stacy McDonald To a trainee, 10.08.2008… In practice, “processing” of oral rinses occurs 7-10 days after the SA kit is received, not “as soon as possible”. Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook 7 months Again, the error is blamed on the analysts, not the Management. And, note the dates of the signatures. Why was there a 7 month discrepancy? See next slide for email sent to analysts… Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook Email (08.03.2006) sent to analysts regarding addition of notations, corrections, and write- overs following the discovery of the errors by external auditors. The impromptu lab meeting (01.27.2009) lead by Dr. Stacy McDonald specifically lectured the FBU analysts about these requirements for the Reagent Lab Notebook. Additional notations (without initials) are acceptable. Note that only the initials are required for corrections, not the date of the correction. A Trainee was given a written reprimand for this seemingly acceptable action (see Stacy McDonald’s memorandum from 03.06.2009) This document was received via PIA-Open Records Request (summer 2009). Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Notations including expiration dates are normal, scientifically. Mixing chemicals from different lots is not normal, scientifically. Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Because this date was written with a different pen, it could have been added at a later time after the The original analyst who prepared this reagent was AML. quality control by AML/ALW. This is NOT analyst AML’s handwriting. Only this notation “expired 05/2005” was objectionable to Management. Note the Lot number. This is the expired chemical from 1995. Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook Someone other than the preparer of the reagent (TJP) wrote these initials (forgery?). This is TJP’s handwriting (initials). From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Only this notation “expired 05/2005” was objectionable to Management. This is the handwriting of another analyst (CC), not TJP. Note the Lot number. This is the expired chemical from 1998. The lines over the corners of the protocol were originally included to indicate the position of the protocol as it was taped into the Reagent Log Notebook (should the protocol be removed). Analysts were told to initial all corrections (line-outs), including those that marked the corners of the protocol that were taped into the Reagent Log Notebook. Click to advance
  • Analysts given no guidance for creating notations within the Reagent Log Notebook From the Reagent Log Notebook (B&W photocopy)… Because this notation was written up-top and to the side, it can be assumed that it was added at a date later than the original entry; not dated or initialed. Because these notations were written in a different handwriting and a different pen, it can be assumed that they were added by a different person at a date later that the original entry; not dated or initialed. Although analyst AN made the original entry, analyst PRL (a different person) actually performed the task of receiving the items into the lab. Because this notation was written in a different handwriting, it can be assumed that it was added by a different person at a date later than the original entry; not dated or initialed. Click to advance
  • From the “Report Of Investigation Of The Trace Evidence Section Of The New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center”, December 2009… … As [Acting Supervisor] Coonrod’s questioning of [forensic scientist] Veeder continued, additional and more wide-ranging allegations with respect to refractive index tests at the Forensic Investigation Center came to light. Both Coonrod’s and [assistant to Coonrod] Brown’s memoranda on the interviews made clear not only that Veeder failed to perform the required refractive index analysis on his 2008 proficiency test and in a specific 2006 fiber case, but also that he omitted this required step in all his fiber casework. He had done so because he allegedly had not been trained to conduct the refractive index measurement and might not even have known how to conduct this analysis. Further, Veeder stated that the handwritten reference chart of refractive index values he used was given to him by Anthony Piscitelli, the trace section supervisor who had trained him in fiber examination techniques. ... Veeder: I know it’s in DPX. They told me from the past, you go to this [hand-written chart] and plug it in . . . This is how I was trained to, how we’ve always done it. … Coonrod: I need to understand very thoroughly. I don’t want to misspeak. This stuff goes to the [Forensic] Commission. So then our test method says only one option for RI. That’s not what we did, and you’ve never been trained on what’s listed here. Veeder: That’s correct. … Despite the information Veeder provided in the interviews indicating his lack of training in the refractive index test technique, the sources of the reference chart he used as a crib sheet, and that other scientists had also violated protocol, Coonrod’s April 29, 2008 report omitted any mention of these critically important issues, focusing solely on Veeder’s individual actions. In addition, in briefings to laboratory management during the course of the interviews, Coonrod sought to confine the problems in the laboratory’s refractive index practices to Veeder. … In fact, the [State of New York] Inspector General ascertained that Veeder was substantially accurate in his statements to laboratory supervisors as his training and supervision were significantly deficient. … [Prior to the end of the investigation] On May 28, 2008, Veeder committed suicide. … http://www.ig.state.ny.us/pdfs/Report%20of%20Investigation%20of%20the%20Trace%20Evidence%20Section%20of%20the%20NYSP%20Forensic%20Investigation%20Center.pdf This is a common response from SWIFS’s Trainers… Click to advance
  • Supervisors alter procedures while analyzing evidence In The Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas at Dallas ............................ No. 05-07-01557-CR ............................ JOSE ALBERTO FELIX, Appellant V. THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee ............................................................. On Appeal from the 203rd Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. F07-00813-P …Several days later, after the results were complete, a second hearing was held outside the presence of the jury. At this hearing, Dr. Timothy Sliter, the SWIFS technical manager of DNA testing, testified he had taken five swabs from exhibit 124- one each from the ear, nose, and base of the statuette and two from an area adjacent to the palm print. He cut each swab in half, kept one half, and sent the other half to Cellmark. Using standard protocol to test the items, Dr. Sliter testified he could not detect any genetic markers in the individual swabs or even perform confirmatory blood testing because the amount of material was insufficient. However, Dr. Sliter testified he then varied from standard protocol and pooled the two samples taken from the area near the palm print. After testing the pooled samples, he found genetic markers consistent with Oscar's DNA profile with a match ratio of one in 876 persons . Dr. Sliter testified the pooling method was a modified procedure not approved by SWIFS… This same non-compliant attitude transfers to analysts… Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence From SWIFS Serology Procedures Manual v1.0, page 33… V. Analysis of SA kits results results swabs (+) swabs (-) OR, smear #1 (-) smear #1 (-) Confirms if this is a true positive or (although, not explicitly stated in X a false positive Not analyzed, but smear #2 (-) the SPM v1.0…) smear #2 may have sperm cells Not analyzed, but may test positive X p30 test (more sensitive) p30 test Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence From SWIFS Serology Procedures Manual v1.0, page 33… Note: The ACP Quantitation test was discontinued on 08.16.2002. However, related V. Analysis of SA kits text still remained scattered throughout the SPM until 02.04.2009. results results swabs (+) swabs (-) OR, smear #1 (-) smear #1 (-) Confirms if this is a true positive or (although, not explicitly stated in X a false positive the SPM v1.0…) Not analyzed, but smear #2 (-) smear #2 may have sperm cells Not analyzed, but may test positive X p30 test (more sensitive) p30 test Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence This is an example of an unbiased FBU analyst performing tests from evidence in a Sexual Activity Kit (typical). 1. Tested 4 vaginal swabs: All negative results. 2. Analyzed a single vaginal smear: Negative results. (Negative results confirmed by a second FBU analyst.) 3. Stopped analysis, per protocol. (Second vaginal smear not analyzed, per protocol.) Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence This is an example of a biased FBU analyst performing additional tests (and consuming forensic material, reagents, time) searching for positive evidence in a Sexual Activity Kit. 1. Tested 4 vaginal swabs: All negative results. 2. Analyzed a single vaginal smear: Negative results. (Negative results confirmed by a second FBU analyst.) 3. Stopped analysis, per protocol. 3. Analyzed a second vaginal smear: Negative results. (Negative results confirmed by a third FBU analyst.) 4. Using an alternative test (and consuming evidence), re-tested vaginal swabs again: negative results. 5. Stopped analysis. Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence Bias is introduced by the analysts because… 1.) there is additional pressure from the Management who push for extra laboratory tests to increase billing charges (“doing a thorough job…”) From a memo from SWIFS to the County Commissioner’s Court, 12.19.2009… Analysts are responsible for billing charges. The more testing performed by an analyst, the greater the amount charged for the results. Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence Bias is introduced by the analysts because… 1.) there is additional pressure from the Management who push for extra laboratory tests to increase billing charges (“doing a thorough job…”) From a memo written by Dr. Tim Sliter and Dr. Stacy McDonald to A Trainee, 03.25.2009… Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence Bias is introduced by the analysts because… 1.) there is additional pressure from the Management who push for extra laboratory tests to increase billing charges (“doing a thorough job…”) From an audit report by Dallas City Auditor, Thomas Taylor, to Dallas City Council Members recommending the Dallas Police Department’s (DPD) discontinued use of forensic services from SWIFS, 11.15.2002… “…There may be alternatives to the current crime laboratory use…” “…The DPD should determine whether there is a more economic, effective, and efficient means to obtain forensic services…” “…DPD investigators have expressed concern with SWIFS in the following areas: -Delays in receiving test results on submitted evidence. -High cost. -Charges for unauthorized evidence processing.” “…Goods and services should be procured economically and efficiently. The City may not be receiving the most efficient and economic forensic laboratory services…” Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence Bias is introduced by the analysts because… 1.) there is additional pressure from the Management who push for extra laboratory tests to increase billing charges (“doing a thorough job…”) Or, 2.) the Physician’s Sexual Assault Exam Reports containing the patient/victim’s descriptive accounts of the alleged sexual assault (and other Physician-patient privileged information) are available to the sympathetic FBU analysts… SWIFS FBU assembles their own Sexual Assault Kits and prepares the examination documentation to be used by the Examining Physician for obtaining medical information and collecting evidence from an alleged victim… From SWIFS Serology Procedures Manual v1.0, page 30… I. Collection of Sexual Activity kits from PMH-OB-GYN Locked cabinet Click to advance
  • Biased FBU analysts alter procedures while analyzing evidence Example of patient narrative from the Physician’s Sexual Assault Examination Report… Information available to the analysts prior to testing of evidence from sexual assault kits. Example of a Dallas Police Department narrative for sexual assault… Potentially contributing to biased results by the analyst – “contextual bias” Click to advance
  • SWIFS disregards suggestions of blind testing techniques and ignores the possibility of analyst bias From STRENGTHENING FORENSIC SCIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES: A PATH FORWARD, National Academy of Sciences, February 2009, (page 24)… Recommendation 5: The National Institute of Forensic Science (NIFS) should encourage research programs on human observer bias and sources of human error in forensic examinations. Such programs might include studies to determine the effects of contextual bias in forensic practice (e.g., studies to determine whether and to what extent the results of forensic analyses are influenced by knowledge regarding the background of the suspect and the investigator’s theory of the case). In addition, research on sources of human error should be closely linked with research conducted to quantify and characterize the amount of error. Based on the results of these studies, and in consultation with its advisory board, NIFS should develop standard operating procedures (that will lay the foundation for model protocols) to minimize, to the greatest extent reasonably possible, potential bias and sources of human error in forensic practice. These standard operating procedures should apply to all forensic analyses that may be used in litigation. Management disregards these recommendations… Click to advance
  • SWIFS disregards suggestions of blind testing techniques and ignores the possibility of analyst bias From memo written by Quality Manager Jim Dempsy to Dr. Jeffrey Barnard (et al.) regarding the 2001 Annual Review of Quality System, 03.13.2002… From SWIFS’s Re-accreditation (ASCLD/LAB) Inspection Report, 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A What are these “logistics”? Click to advance
  • SWIFS procedures may be violating Physician-Patient Confidentiality From the Texas Occupations Code - Section 159.005… Consent For Release Of Confidential Information… … (b) The written consent must specify: (1) the billing records, medical records, or other information to be covered by the release; (2) the reasons or purposes for the release; and (3) the person to whom the information is to be released. From the SWIFS Physician’s Sexual Assault Examination Report… SWIFS is not listed. Click to advance
  • SWIFS procedures may be violating Physician-Patient Confidentiality SWIFS is not listed as an authority to receive a patient’s confidential medical information in the Physician’s Examination Report. Patients do not know the Physician’s Examination Report is released to SWIFS’s analysts. However, per SWIFS policy and procedures analysts retrieve the sealed post-exam Sexual Assault Kits containing the Physician’s Examination Report and patient’s confidential medical information from an evidence lockbox located in the Hospital. (Sexual Assault Kits are deposited into the lockbox by the Law Enforcement Agency or Physician). ALL Sexual Assault Kits are opened in the lab by the analyst (and the Physician’s Examination Report is photocopied), but NOT ALL Sexual Assault Kits are processed. -The submitting Agency must request that the Sexual Assault Kit be processed by SWIFS analysts, or returned to the Agency unprocessed. -Sexual Assault Kits from Garland, DeSoto, and Duncanville Police Departments are automatically returned to these agencies (not analyzed by SWIFS) but the Physician’s Examination Report is still photocopied by SWIFS analysts. (This rule in not in any administration or procedures manual.) Therefore, for those Sexual Assault Kits that are NOT processed, analysts do not need access to the Physician’s Examination Report containing the patient’s confidential medical information. (Arguably, the analyst should NOT need the Physician’s Examination Report for those Sexual Assault Kits that ARE processed by analysts.) Click to advance
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  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Responsibility of locating evidence is shared among FBU analysts * X X Supervisor access only X X X X X X X X X X XX *outdated floor plan. Several walls have been removed and added. X -20°C freezer X room temperature storage Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Assigned FBU analyst must coordinate with Trace Evidence analyst to locate evidence. * Supervisor X access only XXX XX XX X X Supervisor access only XX *outdated floor plan. Several walls have been removed and added. X -20°C freezer X room temperature storage Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Additional location to search for stored evidence…not known by analysts. These documents were/are NOT part of the official SPM v1.0, v2.0, or v2.1. Another analyst typed this new information into an unofficial document. Management did nothing to A trainee was verbally told about this new correct the confusion, nor was this new location location several months after the trainee double-checked for archived evidence previously was assigned this task. The trainee wrote not found during searches. this statement into their own notes. pre-12.31.2008 post-12.31.2008 Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Emails to-from Michelle Moore (DCDA’s Office) regarding evidence found in new, unknown location in lab… Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Extra Evidence was found at SWIFS after the report for the evidence search request was written and sent to the Attorneys. This extra evidence (originally presumed lost) was found during the preparation of transport (to another lab for DNA testing) of other case-related evidence. Had the evidence never been found, it would have never been tested for DNA. Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases Protocols and assignments for Post-conviction evidence research and collection… …written by under-trained analyst, not Management. Subject: post-conviction Creation Date: 1/23/2009 11:44:44 AM From: FBU analyst To: [All FBU Analysts] I've attached the information you should need for post-conviction research (checklists, evidence form, tips for looking for evidence, report examples, and report packet checklist). If you follow the newly created Post Conviction Research Checklist, you will exhaust all places where evidentiary items exist here at SWIFS. (FYI - The "Evidence Receiving" section on the checklist is for looking up a case's FL #. So, only ask them for the logbook if you are looking for an FL #. Trace evidence is searched for by the Trace Unit and I will inform the Trace Unit if trace evidence needs to be located, so that section needs to say "see Trace Examination Checklist".) Once you have found all of the items that are in SWIFS custody, write a report using the appropriate post-conviction report example.doc. Bill the Dallas County DA's Office for yourself and the trace examiner that searched for evidence, using 3104 (Archived Evidence Search). Using the Post-Conviction Report Packet Checklist, create a report packet for technical review. Last, but not least, when your report is signed off by a technical reviewer, the Close Out Sheet Information box on the front page of the report should be checked and you should email me the FL #, complainant's name, date of tech review completion, and a list of item #s that were found. I think this is all that you need for now. If you have any questions, feel free to ask! Click to advance
  • Scattered and Poor Organization of Archived Evidence used for Post-Conviction DNA Testing or Cold Cases From: A Trainee To: FBU analyst Date: 3/3/2009 19:23 PM Subject: SERVICE NUMBER REDACTED Hopefully this is self-explanatory. I briefly looked in PICK and only found something that said: DCME In an email from one analyst to another analyst, Supervisor Clothing was unaware of potentially lost or damaged evidence rec. 03/18/97 Destroyed in Flood (stored at SWIFS) requested by a Texas Ranger. I asked Stacy about the flood. She never heard anything about it... >>>>”Arnold, Tony” <Tony.Arnold@txdps.state.tx.us> 02/26/09 1:56 PM >>>> To: A Trainee RE: Murder / NAME REDACTED (6 yoa) / Wilbarger Co / 03-31-1985 Note: Abducted from Chillicothe, Hardeman Co, 11-10-1984 RE: SWIFS ME # REDACTED REDACTED’s murder investigation is currently under in-depth review for potential leads. At this time, we are unable to locate the victim’s clothing. We have not located any Laboratoty Reports where the clothing was analyzed. Does youe agency have any reports other than the Autopsy Report (attached). We only have one autopsy photograph (attached). Your cooperation is appreciated, Click to advance
  • Trashing the Truth: Evidence proves innocence after 24 years By Susan Greene Denver Post Staff Writer A cigarette butt set Johnny Briscoe free. A rapist had smoked the Kool in a suburban St. Louis apartment in 1982 after assaulting his victim at least three times at knifepoint. He told her his name was John Briscoe. The real Johnny Briscoe had been at his mother's place 17 miles away watching the World Series the night of the attack. Police pulled him into a lineup — the only of four men wearing a jailhouse jumpsuit. "Halloween orange," he notes. The victim incorrectly identified Briscoe. He refused a plea deal offering 20 years in prison. And then he was convicted, sentenced in his mid-20s to 45 years behind bars. "How did I become part of that? That nightmare?" he says. "They just walked over me, man.“ In prison, Briscoe befriended an inmate named Steve Toney who was prosecuted by the same district attorney and represented by the same defense lawyer for a rape he, too, didn't commit. Toney told him about DNA evidence and its potential to exonerate the wrongly convicted. Missouri freed Toney in 1996 after he proved his innocence through DNA. Briscoe's appeal also lent itself to testing because police had gathered so much evidence: a rape kit; hairs believed to be the rapist's; a bedsheet, towel and pantyhose stained with semen; and three cigarette butts collected from the victim's ashtray. A St. Louis County Crime Lab report written the week of the rape stated that "the cigarette butts will be retained in the laboratory freezer for possible future comparison.“ Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Continued from previous slide… For three years in the mid-1990s, Briscoe's lawyer tried to prod the St. Louis County district attorney's office to find the items. At first, prosecutors refused even to look. "We will neither conduct searches of our records nor turn over information unless subsequently ordered by a court to do so," wrote J.D. Evans, St. Louis County's first assistant prosecutor. Innocence Project attorneys gave up on Briscoe in 1998. He then turned to Jim McCloskey, founder of the New Jersey-based Centurion Ministries, a group known as the desperate man's Innocence Project because it champions cases even without DNA. Writing that he would stake his life on Briscoe's innocence, McCloskey persuaded Evans to conduct two evidence searches in 2000. The St. Louis Police Crime Laboratory reported that "all of the evidence had been destroyed." And the St. Louis County Crime Laboratory claimed it had searched its freezer and also concluded Briscoe's evidence had been tossed. After another, court-ordered search in 2002, the St. Louis County Police's Bureau of Criminal Identification wrote that workers again "failed to locate any evidence associated with Mr. Briscoe" in the lab freezer. "Year after year after year after year after year. Nothing. Nothing. No evidence," Briscoe says. In April 2004, a power failure shut down the lab freezer. That triggered an inventory of the items stored there, including the cigarette butts from Briscoe's case. No one at the lab connected them to the court-ordered search two years earlier. They continued to sit unnoticed in the freezer until November 2005. That's when Toney spoke at a conference about his experiences as a wrongfully convicted lifer saved by DNA testing. He mentioned his buddy Johnny as one of many innocent convicts wasting away because of lost evidence. Sitting in the audience was a St. Louis County crime-lab supervisor whom Toney inspired to order yet another search of the freezer. And there they were — three cigarette butts in the same place records show they were stored 23 years earlier… Click to advance
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  • “A real student of science is too well aware of the fallibility of scientific knowledge to presume infallibility, while a charlatan tries to force his infallibility on his public.” -Max Hirschberg, Wrongful Convictions, 13 Rocky Mountain Law Review, 34 (1940). “Truthiness is what you want the facts to be, as opposed to what the facts are. What feels like the right answer as opposed to what reality will support.” -Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report, October 17, 2005 Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management From the NIJ “SOP Writing for ISO 17025 Accreditation”, presented by Ms. Laurel J. Farrell, B.S. via Live Virtual Classroom to SWIFS personnel on 11.20.2008… (Dr. Tim Sliter in attendance) Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management From the Knowledge-based Competency Test, 10.21.2008 (taken by A Trainee, given by Dr. Tim Sliter)… “Unacceptable - Analyst can not establish that it was made that day.” According to Dr. Stacy McDonald’s memo on 03.16.2009 found in the Serology Reagent Log Notebook expiration dates did not matter for stock chemicals. Yet, according to Dr. Tim Sliter, this critical reagent MUST be prepared daily (i.e. a daily expiration date) even if the reagent passes quality control. (This is contrary to the protocol…see next slide) Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management From the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0 (11.12.2001)… From the pre-2001 Serology Procedures Manual… “should be” = suggestive; not necessarily “is to be” = shall; must; required Why the change in wording between the protocols? According to Dr. Stacy McDonald’s memo on 03.16.2009 found in the Serology Reagent Log Notebook expiration dates did not matter for stock chemicals. Yet, according to Dr. Tim Sliter, this critical reagent MUST be prepared daily (i.e. a daily expiration date) even if the reagent passes quality control. Click to advance
  • Background - The Vernier Scale for microscopes and slides 30.5 X-axis and Y-axis FL# 07P1234 x Smith, J. 120.0 x Sperm cell (X) is recorded to be at X,Y-coordinates (30.5,120.0) by the primary analyst (first reader). Directionality of slide and The difference between 102.5 and 102.4 or identity of the microscope not required to be recorded. 102.6 is negligible since the diameter of field of view through the ocular piece is approximately 0.5mm. If a different microscope (with differently positioned scale) is used by uninformed second reader… If the slide is rotated 180° by an uninformed second reader (using the same microscope)… 30.5 52.5 x FL# 07P1234 FL# 07P1234 x Smith, J. Smith, J. 120.0 127.5 x x …sperm cell (X) is no longer at X,Y-coordinates (30.5,120.0). …sperm cell (X) is no longer at X,Y-coordinates (30.5,120.0). Therefore, second reader can not find the same sperm cell. Therefore, the second reader can not find the same sperm cell. Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management Background - The Vernier Scale for microscopes and slides From the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0… As explained by the trainers, the coordinates only have meaning to the primary reader to assist in locating the approximate location of a sperm cell. Again, “should” and not “must”. Neither the name of the microscope nor the directionality of the slide is required to be recorded. Second readers and Third-party scientists (non- SWIFS) can not independently validate the existence of the sperm cell the primary scientist observed without this additional information. Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management From the Microscopic Competency Examination of a Trainee, 05.12.2008… Non-existent program Note that all X,Y-coordinates are rounded to the 0.5. This is an acceptable practice. Knowing which microscope in the lab was used to record the X,Y-coordinates, Dr. Stacy McDonald had the opportunity to check the X,Y-coordinates for accuracy… but did not. Signature of Supervisor, Dr. Stacy McDonald Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management However… At the order of Dr. Tim Sliter, memo written by the Trainee and included with the case file … “…the coordinates of the spermatozoa were not recorded to the 0.1mm, but rather rounded to the 0.5mm on the Vernier scale. The corrective actions taken (per Dr. Tim Sliter) on January 14, 2009 included reanalyzing the smear at those previously documented coordinates, centering the spermatozoa in the field of view (if necessary), and noting the more accurate coordinates (to the 0.1mm position) with date and initials on the worksheet. These coordinates were confirmed by a second reader (trainer ALW). Copies of this Memo were also included in the appropriate case files. The new, more accurate coordinates do not change the overall result of the report.” Approximately 9 reports had to be re-read because it was decided by Management that the coordinates written by the Trainee were erroneous. Analyst AML (the second reader) confirmed the presence of sperm the first time. Analyst ALW (the Trainer/second reader) confirmed the presence of the sperm the second time at the different X,Y-coordinates. However, the results of the analysis were unaffected. This unnecessary redundancy in analysis took several hours of several days and introduced confusion and sloppiness into the work product. The reporting of the results was delayed. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management From a memorandum from Dr. Stacy McDonald to Dr. Tim Sliter, 12.15.2008… The previous slide demonstrates that this is an untrue statement. The trainee was not given a copy of this memo to sign, or aware that this memo existed. The memo was discovered after receiving it via a PIA-Open Records Request after the Trainee was terminated from employment. The memo is a complete lie. Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management After a trainee fails to complete analysis of a large number of evidentiary items in a short amount of time, Dr. Tim Sliter requires a trainee to explain why the deadline was not met… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management The trainee complies with a memo citing logical reasoning… Memo continues on next slide… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management Memo continued from previous slide… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management However, the previous explanations by the trainee were not acceptable to Dr. Tim Sliter… Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management The trainee again complies with a second memo… …reiterating Dr. Tim Sliter’s opinion as he declared in a one-on-one meeting with the trainee. The trainee’s logic and opinions were disregarded. Click to advance
  • “SWIFS Ethics and Data Integrity Training” (12.09.2008).ppt Authored by Quality Manager Karen Young Karen Young Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management Click to advance
  • Correct answers are irrelevant to Management Surprisingly… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Dallas County Code for Employee Performance Evaluation Dallas County Code DIVISION 7. PROBATIONARY PERIOD* Sec. 86-271. Performance evaluations; failure to complete probationary period. The immediate supervisor will periodically advise the employee of his progress and ensure that the employee receives any necessary training required in order for the employee to successfully perform the job duties. The supervisor shall complete performance evaluations after the first three and immediately preceding the completion of the six months of the probationary period. Failure of the employee to satisfactorily complete the probationary period will result in dismissal without right to appeal. (Admin. Policy Manual, § A(2.07)) Secs. 86-272--86-290. Reserved. From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#23, page 22)… “…The Trainee misinterprets the policy statements. The sections of the Dallas County Code quoted by the Trainee in his complaint clearly state that the reviews referenced in the complaint are “recommended”. They are not required unless the employee is failing the probationary period. The Institute’s management likes to do them, and will definitely do them when problems arise in regard to an employee’s performance during the probationary period. However, they are not required in every instance…” The word “recommended” is no where in this section. During the Probationary Period, trainees who are not “team players” fear retaliation and employment termination without the right to appeal. Some trainees have not received a 3-month, 6-month, or 1-year Performance Evaluation. Some trainees received blank Performance Evaluations. Click to advance
  • Blank 6-month Performance Evaluation given to trainees, 09.12.2008 The Employee Performance Evaluation was verbally scored as “Unsatisfactory”. Trainees were told that they would be allowed “a few weeks to make improvements” before an Official Evaluation would be given. Click to advance
  • Official 6-month Performance Evaluation given to trainees, 01.07.2009 (10 months after Start Date) Note the dates of the signatures. Signed by Supervisor three days after blank Performance Evaluation was given. Trainees were not given “a few weeks to make improvements”. The subsequent Official 6-month Performance Evaluation was “Unsatisfactory”… Click to advance
  • Blank 6-month Performance Evaluation given to trainees, 09.12.2008 From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… The inspection team was not presented with documentation of compliance for the following Important and Desirable criteria which were scored NO during the initial inspection: Yes No N/A This was sighted as a negative finding at the last ASCLD-LAB external audit. This is contrary to Dr. Tim Sliter’s memo from 04.03.2009 where he stated that there were “…no negative findings related to the serology technical and training manuals…” Click to advance
  • Blank 6-month Performance Evaluation given to trainees, 09.12.2008 But, then again… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Blank 6-month Performance Evaluation given to trainees, 09.12.2008 However… Memorandum from Quality Manager Karen Young following an internal audit 02.25.2009… Click to advance
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  • “Not even Nobel laureates are permitted to base a scientific conclusion on an educated guess….These stringent standards serve a purpose. In science as in all walks of life, it’s not easy to know when you have leapt to an unjustified conclusion or simply made a mistake. Sometimes very successful scientists, perhaps even more so than novices, come to believe they are more or less infallible.” - Marcia Angell, M.D., Science on Trial, 1997 Click to advance
  • Management blatantly disregards audits From The DOJ Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, Audit Report GR-80-10-002, “Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas County, Texas”, December 2009… Click to advance
  • Management fails to update (or collect) QMPQM Acknowledgement Forms (to be signed by all analysts) Subject: Quality Manual, V. 2.4 and ASCLD/LAB Manual 2008 Creation Date: 11/03/2008 8:48 AM From: Karen Young To: [all SWIFS employees] The following documents are available through the Quality Management Portal: Quality Manual and ASCLD/LAB Manual 2008 All unit staff must review (and where applicable comply with) the revised processes. To determine which sections have been revised, please refer to the Revisions and Corrections log in the manual. Also, you are reminded that the online manual is the official manual. If you are using a printed (i.e., unofficial) copy of the manual as a bench reference, then it is your responsibility to make sure that it corresponds to the official manual. If you have any questions, please contact me. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: Re: Quality Manual, V. 2.4 and ASCLD/LAB Manual 2008 Creation Date: 11/03/2008 9:10AM From: A Trainee To: Karen Young Hi Karen! Is there a form we sign indicating that we read/understand the QM v2.4? On the web portal, just below the QM link is an acknowledgement form (outdated with v2.1)... -A Trainee Even though a trainee alerted --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Management of the error, the online Subject: Re: Re: Quality Manual, V. 2.4 and ASCLD/LAB Manual 2008 Acknowledgement Form was never Creation Date: 11/03/2008 9:21 AM From: Karen Young changed. To: A Trainee Signed Acknowledgement Forms were Let me get back to you on that. Good catch! never collected from analysts. Click to advance
  • Management fails to maintain or service critical lab equipment From the SPM v1.0… The Omnichrome 1000 was not in service in the lab. It was unknown when it was discontinued or if it was scheduled to be repaired. Its whereabouts were unknown. The procedure for using the Omnichrome 1000 was removed from the new SPM v2.0 (02.04.2009). Other critical equipment went unrepaired (e.g. pH meter, microscopes) From the SPM v2.0… Click to advance
  • Management fails to maintain or service critical lab equipment However… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Click to advance
  • Management fails to document personnel (with listed responsibilities) per ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Guidelines From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs 01.28.2002… This organizational chart was (is) not included in any SWIFS manuals. CODIS databasing policies and procedures not documented. Subsequent audits did not report this absent documentation. Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories, (External auditor), 01.28.2002... Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment SWIFS Management disregards auditor’s recommendations. Another external audit finds the same problems 7 months later… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories, (External auditor), 08.21.2002... Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment SWIFS’s Management reports that they have corrected the problems 16 months later… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories, (Internal/self audit lead by Dr. Timothy Sliter), 12.09.2003… note: For this internal audit there was not a single finding of non-compliance for any standard. Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment However, 12 months later, external auditors find the same problems with compliance to maintenance/calibration procedures and practice in the lab… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories, (External auditor), 12.06.2004... Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment SWIFS’s Management reports that they have corrected the problems 12 months later… From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories, (Internal/self audit lead by Dr. Timothy Sliter), 12.05.2005… note: For this internal audit there was not a single finding of non-compliance for any standard. Click to advance
  • Repeated Problems with Calibration/Maintenance of Lab Equipment Maintenance and Calibration Procedures still problematic… Memorandum from Quality Manager Karen Young following an internal audit, 02.25.2009… The two Evidence Registrar employees have been employed at SWIFS for several years. The errors found during the internal audit are a result of poorly written protocols and confusing instructions communicated by the Management to the Registrars. Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information From The DOJ Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, Audit Report GR-80-10-002, “Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas County, Texas”, December 2009… This violation went unnoticed for 8 years. Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information From The DOJ Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, Audit Report GR-80-10-002, “Compliance with Standards Governing Combined DNA Index System Activities at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas County, Texas”, December 2009… Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information For approximately 45 days, 20 boxes containing case files (approximately 400 cases) were stored in this hallway. The grey cabinets on the right also contain case files. However, the cabinets are locked at night. During off-hours, this hallway is accessible to the Field Agents (on the 1st floor) and night-time cleaning and maintenance personnel. All boxes were moved to a secure room on the 4th floor on 01.07.2009. On 01.08.2009, new boxes with case files appeared in the third floor hallway. Physical Evidence hall case file storage cabinets, See next slide… Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information Only a select few people (Drs. Sliter, McDonald, and the Evidence Registrar employees) have keys which lock the metal storage cabinets containing the case files in the hallway. FBU analysts do not have keys to this cabinet and only have access to these case files during business hours. Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information From the Physical Evidence Section Administrative Manual v2.2 (05.29.2008)… From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#20, page 20)… “…this area is designated a secure area by virtue of the fact that access to it is limited to authorized staff…Access is controlled by electronic locks and magnetic control cards that are assigned to staff and individually tracked by the Institute’s security control system…” If the 3rd floor hallway is a “secure designated area”, then the metal cabinets storing case files would not have to be locked during non-business hours. Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information Management was aware of violation from prior audit… From the ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Report, 03.12.2003, (prepared by Rondal Bridgemon) (initial inspection 08.18-21.2002, follow-up inspection 02.19-20.2003)… Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information Several attempts were made by analysts to comply with Institute Policy and ASCLD-LAB Guidelines… Supervisors ignored volunteers… and ignored Institute Policies and ASCLD-LAB Guidelines. Subject: unlocked case file cabinet, Sunday night Creation Date: 2/22/2009 10:59:17 PM From: A Trainee To: Timothy Sliter Stacy McDonald Sunday night (10:30pm) I noticed that the 3rd floor case file cabinets were open. No one else appeared to be around. Cabinets were closed and evidence tape was put on with initials, date, time. -A Trainee Following this email… Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • …the acceptable practice of analysts working in the lab during non-business hours.… From the (partial) Kronos Time Card of A Trainee… 2008 2009 (…and many other recorded time Log-In/Log-Out Sheets at SWIFS’s Main Entrance and the entrances to individual Labs collected regularly by Dr. Tim Sliter.) Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • …and the sometimes required practice of analysts working in the lab during non-business hours.… From an email sent by A Trainee to Dr. Tim Sliter, 12.05.2008… 2. Update: From the 5 SA kits, I will be completing the slides' 1st reads this weekend, so they will be ready for 2nd reads Monday morning. Two kits have been completely analyzed and only need to have the reports written (also, should be completed by Monday). From a (second re-written) memorandum from A Trainee to Dr. Tim Sliter regarding working extra hours to meet (arbitrary) deadlines, 12.24.2008… …One possible action that I did not take was working longer hours. Although I mentioned in my previous Memo (12/16/08) I had worked 47.1 hours the week of December 1-December 5, 7.75 hours during the weekend, and 48.3 hours the week of December 8-December 12, more hours could have been spent focused on meeting the deadline... …One possible action that I did not take was to request the trainers ALW and APT to assist in completing the necessary reviews and tech reviews on the weekend during off-hours… …I should work longer hours including time during the weekends. I should ask the trainers to make themselves available off- hours to assist with tasks that must be completed before a given deadline… Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • …becomes unacceptable when Management is caught violating Institute Policies. From a memorandum from Dr. Tim Sliter to A Trainee regarding working extra hours to meet deadlines, 04.03.2009… … c. The Institute does not permit any employee to be at the Institute performing County work off-the-clock. When you did this, you were reprimanded for not accurately recording your work times on your Kronos timesheet. … Subject: unlocked case file cabinet, Sunday night Creation Date: 2/22/2009 10:59:17 PM From: A Trainee To: Timothy Sliter Stacy McDonald Sunday night (10:30pm) I noticed that the 3rd floor case file cabinets were open. No one else appeared to be around. Cabinets were closed and evidence tape was put on with initials, date, time. -A Trainee Click to advance
  • Improper security and safeguarding of case-related information However… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, SWIFS Inspection Feb 26-29, 2008, Issued 09.13.2008… Yes No N/A Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#1, page 7)… “…Contrary to the assertions of the Trainee, there are numerous examples of the managers of the Serology Laboratory being open to the input of staff in regard to the improving the operations of the laboratory…” Even the example cited in SWIFS 08.27.2009 response does not illustrate this statement… continued… From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#1, page 7 and 8)… “…In one instance, a newly hired analyst with prior experience in other forensic laboratories suggested to his supervisor that the procedure used in his former lab for the presumptive testing of semen might be more sensitive than the test the Institute uses. The Supervisor authorized him to check this out in side-by-side comparisons of the Institute’s procedure against the alternate procedure. That comparison indicated that the Institute’s procedure was significantly more sensitive than the alternate procedure proposed by the new staff member. Had the results been different…then the Supervisor would have been open to implementing the alternate procedure…” Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee The SPM v1.0 has no protocol for preparing positive control swabs from unknown donated semen for the QC of freshly prepared Brentamine Reagent. There was no experimental validation study for determining the reliability or reproducibility of the unknown donated semen for use as positive controls. At the request of Dr. Stacy McDonald, A Trainee was given the task of solving these issues… Subject: reagents Creation Date: 7/18/2008 2:50:14 PM From: Stacy Mcdonald To: A Trainee Since you are the new serology reagent czar, you might look through the serology manual and make suggestions as to how to improve the SOP for reagent prep and QC. Stacy Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee A Trainee sent several emails to Dr. Stacy McDonald and Dr. Tim Sliter suggesting possible protocols, commercial reagent suppliers, and scientific literature regarding experimental validation procedures as a means of addressing the Serology Labs quality control issues and standardizing the laboratory protocols… Subject: stock semen arrival Creation Date: Jul 22, 2008 8:24 AM From: A Trainee To: Stacy Mcdonald New stock donor semen (2-3mL) from Courtney H is in the -20C, in a 50mL conical. (Labeled "stock donor semen 07-19-08") Today I was going to thaw this, and make 40uL "stock" aliquots into microfuge tubes to be stored at -20C. One of these "stock" aliquots will be used to make 40mL of (1:1000) "working dilutions", which will be aliquoted (100uL) into microfuge tubes and stored at -20C. (i.e., one box for "stock" aliquots and a seperate box for "working dilution" aliquots to be used for QC-ing Brentamine solutions.) Each time someone wants to QC Brentamine, a "1:1000 working dilution" microfuge tube can be removed from the -20C, thawed with the fingers, and swab inserted to soak up the solution (1 tube, 1 use). Each time new "working dilutions" need to be made, a "stock" aliquot microfuge tube can be removed from the -20C, thawed with the fingers, and added to 40mL H2O, which will then be aliquoted into tubes and stored at -20C. This minimizes the number of freeze-thaw cycles that the semen/ACP undergoes. One "1:1000 working dilution" will be tested with fresh Brentamine solution, validating the new "stock" for QC purposes, and logged in the Log Notebook in the Lab. I was told by a couple of lab members that pre-making swabs with the 1:1000 dilutions (and storing at -20C) hasn't always provided reproducibe result in the past. We thought this new protocol might be a more reliable method to try. The alternative protocol to this is to continue to use the semen standard/seminal plasma from Seri (1 lyophilized bottle + 500uL H2O= 1:50 dilution of semen, according to their literature). Multiple lyophilized bottles of a common lot can be purchased simultaneously, but, as with the donor semen from CH, levels of ACP aren't verified. The QC-ing of a 1:1000 seminal plasma gives similar rates of reaction relative to the 1:1000 donor semen, and is stable at when stored at -20C (at least for the past 3 weeks!) Does Seri sell an ACP-related product that is backed by documentation? Any ideas or suggestions? This email was subsequently ignored. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee A Trainee sent several emails to Dr. Stacy McDonald and Dr. Tim Sliter suggesting possible protocols, commercial reagent suppliers, and scientific literature regarding experimental validation procedures as a means of addressing the Serology Labs quality control issues and standardizing the laboratory protocols… From: A Trainee To: SMcdonald (Stacy Mcdonald) Subject: other commercially available semen Date: Fri, Oct 10, 2008 1:05 PM Some research I was looking into for commercially available semen to be used as a standard in serology... http://www.innov-research.com/innovative/human-biologicals/biological-fluids/humansemen/prod_80.html or http://www.leebio.com/semen-human-P400.html "...bulk purchases human semen from 1000mls or more on single donor or pooled Human Semen." (I found this statement amusing!) And many other biological products that serology might use (for standards or training samples) I was still trying to find out if they contained added preservatives... And attached is a paper which may of general interest to the serology lab... -A Trainee This email was subsequently ignored. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee A Trainee sent several emails to Dr. Stacy McDonald and Dr. Tim Sliter suggesting possible protocols, commercial reagent suppliers, and scientific literature regarding experimental validation procedures as a means of addressing the Serology Labs quality control issues and standardizing the laboratory protocols… From: A Trainee To: Tim Sliter Date: 11/21/2008 Subject: Interesting journal article.. This may be of general interest to the serology analysts. Fairly easy to read, too. -A Trainee [attachment] Preliminary investigations on the standardization and quality control for the determination of acid phosphatase activity in seminal plasma. Lu JC, Fang Chen, Xu HR, Huang YF, Lu NQ. Department of Reproduction and Genetics, Jinling Hospital, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210002, China. Clinical Chimica Acta. 2007 Jan;375(1-2):76-81. Epub 2006 Jun 12. BACKGROUND: The determination of ACP in seminal plasma was considered as an appropriate biochemical marker to evaluate prostate function, as recommended by the WHO manual. However, few reports on the standardization and quality control for the determination of biochemical markers in seminal plasma have been documented. METHODS: Two frozen samples of seminal plasma with or without phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride were determined for their acid phosphatase (ACP) levels. The ACP level and sperm concentration of each of 72 samples of seminal plasma obtained at 1000xg for 10 min or 3000xg for 15 min centrifugation were assayed. ACP activity in 10 samples of seminal plasma was measured immediately or standing for 30 min after dilution. The ACP levels in seminal plasma with or without chymotrypsin were also assayed. RESULTS: There was no significant difference of ACP levels (P=0.166) but of sperm concentrations (P=0.000) in seminal plasma obtained by centrifugation at different velocity. ACP activities in seminal plasma measured when standing for 30 min after dilution were significantly lower than those measured immediately after dilution (P=0.001). Both chymotrypsin and freezing-thawing had no apparent effect on the determination of ACP in seminal plasma. CONCLUSION: The results indicated that standing time after dilution and centrifugation velocity should be standardized, and frozen seminal plasma could serve as the quality control products for the determination of ACP activity among different laboratories. Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee A Trainee sent several emails to Dr. Stacy McDonald and Dr. Tim Sliter suggesting possible protocols, commercial reagent suppliers, and scientific literature regarding experimental validation procedures as a means of addressing the Serology Labs quality control issues and standardizing the laboratory protocols… Email response from Dr. Tim Sliter to A Trainee regarding to the previously emailed scientific literature, 12.06.2008… Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee Subject: Re: Tuesday's meeting [“Re-Training” of a Trainee] >>> Trainee 10/13/08 7:26 AM >>> How about we discuss the Serology Procedures Manual 1.0 and the Serology Training Guide 1.1 (it there is time..) on Tuesday? Unless you have another idea. -Trainee ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>> Stacy Mcdonald 10/13/08 8:50 AM >>> There should be plenty of time for both. My thought is that there is no point of going over the whole document line by line. We can just discuss any questions you have. Stacy ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>> Trainee 10/14/08 8:33 AM >>> If you still have the Serology manual with all the "stickies" (the one you are editing), maybe bring that. Did you want to meet in the morning or in the afternoon? -Trainee ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- >>>Stacy Mcdonald 10/14/2008 8:37:40 AM>>> I need to get a couple of reports out this morning, so it will have to be this afternoon. The purpose of the meeting is not to argue about the serology manuals. It is just to answer any questions you might have or to explain things that you do not understand. Stacy Click to advance
  • Supervisors disregard relevant scientific input from participating Trainee However… From the ASCLD-LAB Inspection Report, (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008… Click to advance
  • Management fails to discipline analysts for violating rules From the Physical Evidence Section Administrative Manual v2.2… Even though this is a long-standing rule and a trainer had been warned by several other lab members on numerous occasions, no disciplinary action was taken by Dr. Sliter against the trainer to curb her repeated violations of Institute rules. From an email sent by A Trainee to Dr. Tim Sliter, 12.05.2008… …While in the lab, [the trainer] was in the middle of answering a question I presented to her...when her cell phone rang. She removed her gloves, answered it , and wandered over to her workbench to continue the conversation on the phone. I don't believe the call was business related, however, I wasn't listening intently to her half of the conversation…she is notorious for talking on her cell phone (non-business) in inappropriate places. (PES Admin Manual v2.2, chapter 6). No CAR documents regarding these violations were received from the PIA-Open Records request (Summer 2009). Click to advance
  • Management fails to discipline analysts for illegal activities The illegal growing of marijuana in the labs did not lead to any criminal charges, termination of employment, or disciplinary actions for those involved. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. From the Dallas County Code… Sec. 86-711. Travel and mileage reimbursement policy. (a) Travel funds will be allocated to departments annually based on need and with general approval through the budget process, with grant awards or through department discretionary account (DDA) guidelines. If possible, attendance at local offerings is encouraged, out-of-state and out-of-county seminars and technical meetings shall be kept to a minimum. Where practical, attendance should be limited to one individual per department, per seminar or trip…. … (c) DDA funded travel for conference or business meetings is reimbursed by submitting requests for payment and expense reports to the auditor's office with appropriate receipts attached. Appropriate signoff in the department is required… … (i) 4210 conference travel: To reimburse county employees for direct and out-of-pocket expenses incurred while attending a conference, professional development seminar, trade school or college which has received prior approval and will enhance the employee's capability to fulfill their job function. This account will pay for transportation, registration, and tuition fees, hotel charges, meals, tips and other related reimbursable expenses associated with professional development activity… Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. Reimbursement Issues from job-related event (SWAFS). Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, from 09.21.2008 to 09.26.2008, 4 employees. Submitted Request for reimbursement on 10.20.2008. 1 employee received reimbursement check near the end of October. Other 3 employees did not. Several emails sent requesting info. from 3rd parties (at the request of Renee Cole, Asst. to Dr. Tim Sliter.) The Trainee was not considered a “team player”. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. Subject: SWAAFS flight info??? Creation Date: 1/16/2009 12:14:31 PM From: A Trainee To: Trainer #1 Trainer #2 Do you have any info regarding the cost of the flight to Little Rock and back? Renee needs it in order to reimburse us... ------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: SWAAFS flight info??? Creation Date: 1/16/2009 2:52:04 PM From: Trainer #1 To: A Trainee I gave her my confirmation from the travel agency but, I think it is just for my reservation. I am currently looking for emails that might have the price of the flight... ------------------------------------------------------------------- Subject: SWAAFS flight info??? Creation Date: 1/20/2009 6:33:07 AM From: Trainer #2 To: A Trainee Yeah, I gave my print out to Renee last week. I'm not sure where you would get it if you don't already have it...I just had mine from way back when it was booked and the lady emailed me my confirmation. Were you able to find it? The Trainee was not considered a “team player”. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. At the insistence of Dr. Tim Sliter’s assistant, more emails were sent by the trainee searching for unnecessary information… The Trainee was not considered a “team player”. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. Subject: past eInvoice? Creation Date: 1/23/2009 1:10:19 PM From: A Trainee To: sales@visiontravel.com Hello! I was wondering if it would be possible to get an eInvoice from a past business trip taken in September 2008. I was only given a printout of the Flight Itinery and I need the eInvoice (cost of airfare) to get reimbursed for travel costs. Name: A Trainee (or Dallas County Employee ??) Reservation Code: LIAHZS Date: Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008 Flight: Southwest Airlines, WN 1612 From : Dallas Love Field, Texas (DAL) To: Little Rock, Arkansas (LIT) Departure: 5:20pm Arrival: 6:25pm Date: Friday, Sept 26, 2008 Flight: Southwest Airlines, WN 0607 From: Little Rock, Arkansas (LIT) To: Dallas Love Field, Texas (DAL) Departure: 3:30pm Arrival: 4:30pm Sorry for the paucity of info, but ANY information you could relay to me would be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks! >>> Juana Alvarez 01/26/09 11:28 AM >>> The airfare was charged to a Dallas County credit card by Vision Travel, you would not get a reimbursement for this. Please call me @7372 if any questions. The Trainee was not considered a “team player”. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. A final email was sent to the Director… Subject: travel reimbursement Creation Date: 2/12/2009 9:19:54 AM From: A Trainee To: Dr. Jeffrey Barnard Hello! I filed a Request for Reimbursement on October 20, 2008 for attending the SWAFS Conference in Little Rock, AR. I have not received reimbursement yet (over $900). Two other serologists are also waiting for reimbursement. Could you please investigate? Thank-you The Trainee was not considered a “team player”. Click to advance
  • Reimbursement payment withheld from Trainee by Management. County time wasted trying to find “correct” paperwork. Job-related Conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, from 09.21.2008 to 09.26.2008, 4 employees. Submitted Request for reimbursement to the assistant to Dr. Tim Sliter on 10.20.2008. One employee received reimbursement check near the end of Sept. Other 3 employees did not. Several emails sent by the trainee requesting information from 3rd parties (at the insistence of the assistant to Dr. Tim Sliter). Sent final email to Dr. Jeffrey Barnard on 02.12.2009 Received reimbursement check on 02.17.2009 (almost 4 months after request.) Note date on check stub…09.26.2008. Check was issued before the Request for Reimbursement was submitted. Lack of Management response and professionalism contributed to the creation of a bitter and hostile work environment in the lab with low moral among the analysts. Click to advance
  • CSI members: unit is falling apart By John Marzulli, NYDailyNews.com Monday, March 3rd 2008 Misconduct, improper handling of evidence and internal discord have shaken the NYPD's once-elite crime scene unit, at least five current or former members say. "The crime scene unit is imploding," said Detective Ira Scott, 39, who said he suffered a career-ending eye injury from a prank pulled by a sergeant. Scott has filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and is preparing to file a federal suit alleging he was harassed by vindictive superiors - and then retaliated against when he complained. At least four more past or present crime scene unit members are mulling legal action against the NYPD, contending they were denied promotions or opportunities to receive special training. "The collective managerial incompetence has led to the downfall of this elite unit," said Scott's lawyer, Eric Sanders of the law firm of Jeffrey Goldberg in Lake Success, L.I. The main targets of their complaints are Deputy Inspector Gary Gomula, the unit's commanding officer, and his executive officer, Capt. Michael Kletzel. "They are running that place into the ground," Scott said. The News reported last month that Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly hired a California forensics expert to examine the fabled crime scene unit, which served as an inspiration for the TV show "CSI.“ … The unit's problems come as no surprise to some former members. "I've seen crime scene go from the best to worst," said Detective John DeSimone, who retired last April after 14 years with the unit. … Click to advance
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  • “Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.” -Albert Einstein “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” -Mark Twain Click to advance
  • Management Controls Communications From the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Minutes from 05.15.2009 Meeting (Dallas, Texas)… Members Present: Bassett, Kerrigan, Hampton, Adams, Eisenberg Members Absent: Hamilton, Natarajan, Watts, Levy (Additional attendees included: Veena Mohan, Assistant Attorney General, Administrative Law Division; Leigh Tomlin, TFSC Coordinator; Gabriel Oberfield, Innocence Project; Mark Adams, Office of the Governor; Erin Spargo, SWIFS; Stacy McDonald, SWIFS; Timothy Sliter, Dallas County, SWIFS; Elizabeth Todd, SWIFS; Manuel Valadez, Jr., DPS Garland; Lorna Beasley, DPS Garland)… ... The meeting continued with a public comment period in which meeting attendees were invited to comment on the Commission’s activities. Tim Sliter reiterated the stress and the problems that would be involved in retesting samples as part of an audit process. He indicated that it would be highly problematic for labs. … Dr. Tim Sliter would rather have routine laboratory audits rely on documentation created at the Institute rather than re-analysis on items of evidence. The reasons will become obvious… http://www.fsc.state.tx.us/documents/D_051509MeetingMinutes.pdf Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (page 3)… “…The most recent accreditation inspection of the Institute by ASCLD/LAB took place in February 2008. At that time the Serology program, including its policies, technical procedures, training program, and casework documents were reviewed. The 2008 ASCLD/LAB inspection resulted in no findings related to the Serology program…” From the ASCLD/LAB inspection report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008 (inspection 02.28.2008)… Continued on next slide… Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (page 3)… “…The most recent accreditation inspection of the Institute by ASCLD/LAB took place in February 2008. At that time the Serology program, including its policies, technical procedures, training program, and casework documents were reviewed. The 2008 ASCLD/LAB inspection resulted in no findings related to the Serology program…” Continued from previous slide… From the ASCLD/LAB inspection report (re-accreditation), 09.13.2008 (inspection 02.28.2008)… An internal audit in January 2009 found the exact same problems… Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies Note: Trainees were not interviewed by external auditors. Untrue statement. See next slide… Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From the Quality Assurance Audit for Forensic DNA and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Labs 06.23.2008… A number of other out-dated procedures were still in the SPM v1.0. FBU analysts were not aware of these audit findings. (Analysts are not informed of ANY external or internal audit findings.) A memo from a trainee to Quality Manger Karen Young dated 11.25.2008 detailed many of the errors in the SPM v1.0. “Updated” SPM v2.0 implemented on 02.04.2009. Errors still remained. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#26, page 26)… “…2) Use of the fan in the Serology Laboratory was terminated in 2008 as a result of a directive from the Section Chief. This action was initiated as a result of the Section Chief observing the fan in use, and recognizing there was a potential for a quality issue if the fan was not positioned properly… …Following instruction from the Section Chief to cease use of the fan, the fan was physically removed from the laboratory…” The picture was taken in November 2008. But the fan was not removed from the laboratory until after SWIFS received notice of the anonymous complaint from the TFSC, May 2009. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#5, page 12)… “…It is the laboratory’s position that the use of positive and negative controls in the Ouchterlony test for species of origin determination is proper and acceptable, and that the protocol does not require modification or revision…” From the Serology Procedures Manual v1.0… From the Serology Procedures Manual v2.0… No negative control The positive control changed from human serum (no dilution listed) to whole blood (dilution of 1:1000) from SPM v1.0 to v2.0. (There is no mention in the SPM v1.0, Appendix 1, “Reagents and Solutions” of human serum, the dilution to use, or where it comes from.) The source of the donated whole blood, similar to the donated semen used to test the freshly prepared Brentamine Reagent, is not dated nor recorded, and therefore not traceable. Whole blood (not human serum) was used as the positive control prior to the implementation of v2.0. Whole blood was included as a positive control in v2.0 in order to legitimize its use as a positive control prior to v2.0. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#25, page 25)… “…Smears [from a Sexual Assault Kit] are not processed in a way that is intended to preserve them for later DNA testing…” (page 9)“...Benita Haywood, a serologist at the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, testified...identified sperm on the vaginal smear...” (page 13)”...After locating the biological evidence at Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences (SWIFS) in November 2000 [20 years later], the Innocence Project requested that the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office consent to post-conviction DNA testing...” (page 13) “...Because only one slide remained from Ms. REDACTED rape kit...the Innocence Project requested that the evidence be released for Y chromosome testing (Y-STR)...” (page 14) “...[Orchid] Cellmark performed Y-STR testing on the vaginal slide and obtained the genetic profile of the sperm source...” (page 14) “...Y-STR testing of Mr. Fuller’s sample [from the smear in the sexual assault kit] excluded him from the male DNA on the slide, scientifically demonstrating that he is not the assailant...” To summarize, a vaginal smear was fixed, stained, and analyzed at SWIFS in 1981. After being stored at SWIFS for 20 years (unrefrigerated), the smear was used in 2001 for Y-STR DNA analysis yielding results that exonerated Mr. Fuller. Therefore, smears from SWIFS are used for post-conviction DNA testing. http://www.innocenceproject.org/docs/fuller_motion.pdf Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies Only a single signature with a date Ironically, “timely and immediate reporting” were included in the CAR evaluation, yet it took over 10 months to close this CAR. The dates of most of the signatures are missing so it is impossible to know when the Executive Committee actually knew about and closed this document. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From SWIFS’s 08.27.2009 response to the anonymous complaint (#17, page 19)… “…It is the opinion of the Institute that the issue of the holding period for sexual assault kits is an administrative process that does not need to be covered in the technical procedure manual of the Serology Lab…” However… From the Serology Procedure Manual v2.1 (02.13.2009)… This information is not in the SPM v1.0 and not in the STG v1.1. This information was not in any administrative manual. It was included in the SPM v2.1 after the anonymous report to the TFSC was submitted. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies The source of the blood contamination was not discovered. No additional procedures were implemented to prevent further contamination. No procedures were implemented describing the correct procedures in the event contamination is found. There is no “housekeeping plan” for regularly/weekly/monthly spot-checking of the FBU Serology Lab for blood contamination. Note the date the CAR was initiated relative to the date it was closed (16 months). Any PIA- Open Records Request for this document prior to 11.25.2008 would not have received it. Clearly demonstrates Management’s inability to implement adequate corrective action in a timely manner. Most importantly… Quality Manager Karen Young started employment at SWIFS in the Fall of 2008. See next slide… Version 2.4 Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies If CAR 07-007 was actually created (initiated) in July 2007, an older version of the form would have been used and the names of the Executive Committee would not be printed on the form. i.e. Dr. Tim Sliter backdated CAR 07-007, and the Executive Committee signed. From the Quality Management Program From the Quality Management Program Quality Manual v2.3 (02.28.2008)… Quality Manual v2.4 (11.01.2008)… Version 2.4 A form similar to this should have been used Even though this form did not exist in 2007, this was to complete a CAR initiated in 2007. the form used to initiate and complete CAR 07-007. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies Texas Penal Code - Section 37.10. Tampering With Governmental Record § 37.10. TAMPERING WITH GOVERNMENTAL RECORD. (a) A person commits an offense if he: (1) knowingly makes a false entry in, or false alteration of, a governmental record; (2) makes, presents, or uses any record, document, or thing with knowledge of its falsity and with intent that it be taken as a genuine governmental record; (3) intentionally destroys, conceals, removes, or otherwise impairs the verity, legibility, or availability of a governmental record; (4) possesses, sells, or offers to sell a governmental record or a blank governmental record form with intent that it be used unlawfully; (5) makes, presents, or uses a governmental record with knowledge of its falsity; or (6) possesses, sells, or offers to sell a governmental record or a blank governmental record form with knowledge that it was obtained unlawfully. … Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies Again… Quality Manager Karen Young started employment at SWIFS in the Fall of 2008, and should not have her printed name at the bottom of a document that was initiated on 12.04.2007. Again, Dr. Tim Sliter backdated CAR 07-008, and the Executive Committee signed. It took nearly 12 months to close this CAR Dr. Tim Sliter accidentally wrote the backdate before correcting it and writing the actual date. Coincidentally, the closing date is the same as CAR 07-007 Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies Again, backdated CAR 07-005 is signed by the Executive Committee. It took nearly 21 months to close this CAR Again… A CAR document initiated on 07.12.2007 is backdated on a form that did not exist until 11.01.2008 (after Quality manager Karen Young begins employment at SWIFS)… This handwriting does not appear to match the handwriting of the other entries above. Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies CAR 05-001 did not exist at the time CAR 04-005 was closed. (see next slide…) The remaining memos of the conversations mentioned within this CAR were not included for the PIA-Open Records Request. The protocol problems pertaining to this CAR are not discernable without these additional memos. Analyst Hiyi subsequently left employment with SWIFS (see CAR 05-001 and RFR dated 10.17.2005.) This CAR references another CAR that was initiated 9 months after this CAR was closed (i.e. CAR 04-005 was backdated). Note the CAR initiation date relative to the date of the signatures (19 months). Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies …continued from previous slide This CAR is mentioned in CAR 04-005 (which was closed 01.27.2005) The remaining memos of the conversations and testimony mentioned within this CAR were not included for the PIA-Open Records Request. Note the dates of the CAR initiation relative to the dates of the signatures and the closing date of the CAR (13 months). Not dated Not dated Not dated Signed, dated after previous signature? Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies According to the manufacturer of the test (SERI), no sperm was on the slide. Management disregards the true results from the manufacturer and accepts its own results. It is highly unlikely that a proficiency test would contain a single sperm cell. No action was implemented by Management to identify the source of the contaminating single sperm cell. SERI was not contacted. Note, this was closed on exactly the same day as CAR 05-001(see previous slide). Click to advance
  • SWIFS Lies From the SWIFS Code of Ethics and Conduct, 04.23.2007… 1 Purpose The purpose of this program is to promote the highest standard of medical, laboratory and business practice by establishing a framework of expectations for professional behavior for all staff members working at the Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences. 2 Ethics Statement The Dallas County Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences fulfills its mission by operating in compliance with the highest ethical standards. Integrity is the cornerstone of all aspects of department operations. All staff members are required to adhere to this guiding philosophy and act in a manner that displays compliance with ethical principles in their personal and professional conduct. Click to advance
  • SWIFS’s Management Violations 1. Good Laboratory (Scientific) Practices – use of expired chemicals; general uncleanliness; questionable ethics. 2. SWIFS Institute Policies – altered SOP; altered documentation; unsecured case files; questionable ethics; biased analysis. 3. ASCLD/LAB Accreditation Policies – altered SOP; unsecured case files; countless others. 4. Dallas County Code – employee 3- ,6-, and 12-month Performance Reviews neglected; questionable ethics. 5. Texas Law (potentially) – Document forgery; uploading of “unknown DNA profiles” generated from forensic case work into SDIS which could actually be lab employee DNA profiles (as a result of inadvertent contamination). 6. Federal Law (potentially) – Document forgery; uploading of “unknown DNA profiles” generated from case work into CODIS which could actually be lab employee DNA profiles (as a result of inadvertent contamination). Failure to recognize and correct these violations is collectively a result of poor and unprofessional management (including lying), untrained analysts, lack of adequate internal audit procedures and reporting, and incomplete and inefficient external audits by ASCLD-LAB Accreditation Officials. Click to advance
  • Unfounded Why? A Review of Protocol and Practice Vulnerabilities in a Dallas County Crime Lab