The special investigator in the Houston Police Department crime laboratory mess reports that 43 DNA cases and 50 serology cases dating back to 1980 have been identified as having “major issues,” says the Houston Chronicle. Previously, he had identified of 27 cases. Investigator Michael Bromwich defined as “problems that raise significant doubt as to the reliability of the work performed, the validity of the analytical results, or the correctness of the analysts’ conclusions.”
The report focuses on pervasive problems at the crime lab, including the failure of serologists and DNA analysts to report reliable results that in some cases might have helped to prove that suspects were innocent. Another problem was the failure to perform serology testing (blood typing) in the 1980s in cases where there was evidence that, if tested, might have developed information about whether suspects could have been included or excluded as potential blood evidence donors. The DNA division of the crime lab was closed in 2002 after an independent audit exposed widespread problems with protocols and personnel. Since then, errors have been exposed in four other lab divisions that test firearms, body fluids, and controlled substances such as drugs.