Indianapolis’s Marion County crime lab is reviewing 64 criminal cases — mostly rapes and killings — because of fears that a lab technician cut corners on DNA testing, the Indianapolis Star reports.
Prosecutors downplayed the retesting, but defense lawyers saw a chance for dozens of new trials, and judges feared that a sluggish county court system would become even more clogged.
Scientists are checking every DNA match made by Dr. Kuppareddi Balamurugan at the request of county Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. Balamurugan spent six years at the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency before resigning in August. Balamurugan is not accused of doing DNA tests improperly, prosecutors said. Instead, he cut corners by not taking steps that are needed to verify the accuracy of the DNA test. He did this in an effort to gather his test results faster than his colleagues, prosecutors said.
Yesterday, Oklahoma’s attorney general ordered the review of three death penalty cases after the FBI accused a forensic scientist of shoddy work. The scientist, Joyce Gilchrist, now on paid administrative leave, denies any wrongdoing. The Houston police lab is reviewing every DNA case completed since 1992, and even the FBI’s lab procedures have been called into question.