A fired former Austin Police Department crime lab scientist has alleged to District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg that some drug cases were processed “without any analysis being conducted at all,” reports the Austin American-Statesman. Lehmberg asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to review the charges.
Assistant Police Chief Sean Mannix defends the lab, saying the charges came from an “angry former employee.” One crime lab official said a review of two cases indicates no drug testing was performed before a “preliminary report” was emailed to prosecutors. The former employee said that “rush” cases were “analyzed without regard to laboratory protocols.” Defense lawyers suggested that the “rush” cases were required to meet prosecutors’ accelerated prosecution schedule under the so-called Rocket Docket. Defense lawyer Amber Vazquez Bode said that following protocol is essential in such cases because it ensures accuracy. “It’s a pretty big deal if in fact a substance was not crack cocaine and you are sitting in state jail for a year,” she said.