Evidence in hundreds of criminal cases in 27 Pennsylvania counties has been called into question after a forensic scientist was found to have missed evidence during her laboratory examinations, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. State police discovered four mistakes while auditing a scientist in the state police crime laboratory in Bethlehem. The scentist has resigned. In one case, the scientist failed to detect a semen stain on an article of clothing she analyzed.
The state sent district attorneys in 27 counties a letter on May 5 noting the concerns, and listing all the cases the woman had worked on in their counties.
The questions about evidence have arisen at a time when the police agency has been buffeted by a sex scandal – allegations of sexual misconduct between 1995 and 2001 involving more than 100 troopers. Other crime labs across the country have come under scrutiny for problems with evidence analysis. In Houston, two administrators resigned last week and seven crime workers were suspended. Credibility questions at Montana’s state crime lab and in Phoenix have resulted in audits and the review of criminal convictions.