Wednesday, June 12, 2013

AG Report Details Serious Problems with CDPHE Testing, Begging the Question: When Did the DA's Know?

The Colorado Attorney General has disclosed a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) personnel lab evaluation that was completed on March 18, 2013. The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar (CCDB) received this from the Attorney General just prior to 5 pm on Friday, June 7, 2013.  The investigation report was also sent to Governor Hickenlooper’s office, all Colorado District Attorney offices, and the Public Defender’s office.

The contents of the report describe a systemic problem at the CDPHE laboratory and is clearly exculpatory evidence for all DUI and criminal cases involving the CDPHE laboratory for the time periods described in the report and potentially a much greater timeframe. Of great concern is the timing of this disclosure and the source of the information. The information was provided by the Attorney General and not from any of the District Attorney offices that prosecute DUI cases.

It is unknown at this time when prosecutors became aware of this information and what information had been disseminated to prosecutors. Exculpatory evidence and information is required by statute and case law to be disclosed to criminal defendants. Failing to disclose exculpatory evidence can cause the government to be sanctioned by a court which can include the suppression of evidence, or in the case of severe violations, complete dismissal of the criminal case.

The Attorney General admits that the laboratory report contains what could be “mitigating evidence” that affect cases where the CDPHE lab was or is currently involved. The CDPHE has responsibility for the forensic testing of chemical samples used in the prosecution of DUI and other criminal cases.  The scope of this disclosure is far reaching and confirms what many members of the CCDB have long suspected concerning oversight, management and forensic testing at the CDPHE laboratory.

It is important to note that many defense attorneys and legal professionals have fought for this information for years, and this is the evidence that shows what we have been seeking has been there all along. Without the concerted efforts of the several dedicated defense attorneys and other legal professionals mentioned above, many more persons charged with DUI and similar offenses would continue to suffer under these abuses.
For the entire AG report: Click here for report 

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