New Law Could Hide Forensic Failures From PublicPublished: Jun 16, 2016, by in Constitutional Rights, Criminal Defense, Legal Blog
Forensic evidence is critical to the criminal judicial system in Chicago, Illinois. In fact, it is the basis of many acquittals and the driving force behind a number of convictions. Since forensic evidence is governed by scientific procedures, it is often felt that it is the closest a court will come to getting to the truth.
It is, therefore, shocking to many, when there are revelations of forensic failure in criminal cases. It becomes even more troubling that legislators would propose laws that would seek to hide those failures than to ensure that such failures are rectified and never happen. However, the Illinois general assembly is going with the former option with the passing of a law that could result in a major cover-up of the mistakes of the forensic police crime lab.
Why Should We Be Concerned?
About nine months ago an investigatory team of a major news network unearthed a series of forensic failures in the state operated police crime lab. The results of those investigations became public and individuals were shocked to learn of serious breaches that could very well have jeopardized a number of criminal cases.
So what was the response of the legislature? Instead of seeking to close the gaping holes and allow for better systems of accountability and procedure, the legislature proposed laws that will give the police the autonomy to develop their own rules about how and what forensic information to share. The effects are far reaching.
In every criminal matter, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Even where there is unequivocal forensic evidence, it must be presented and vigorously challenged. The defendant has the right to the discovery of this evidence and criminal defense attorney’s make regular request to the state police crime lab for such information. If the police are allowed to make the rules surrounding what information can be shared with the public, then the essential pillow of evidence discovery in the criminal justice system will be undermined.
What Would the Police Be Hiding?
It is unfortunate that we live in a society where trust and confidence in law enforcement personnel are dwindling. Especially in Chicago, where there has been numerous public outrage in relation to police misconduct, the public don’t believe that the police can protect them from the criminal elements and defendants feel like there is no justice. This new legislation which is now up for signature from the Governor does nothing to help a city or state that desires disclosure over secrecy.
Some of the forensic failures discovered only nine months ago included:
- Switching of test samples;
- Non-matching names;
- Viral of evidence that was run incorrectly;
- General inaccuracies; and
- Faulty methods of destroying evidence.
Opponents of this legislation and many in the criminal defense practice believe that this is an attempt by the legislators to give the police the opportunity to cover up such failures in the future.
Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael O’Meara
If you are charged with a criminal offense, it can be a very troubling experience. Even with overwhelming forensic evidence, you will need strong criminal defense representation. With extensive experience as a prosecutor, criminal defense lawyer Michael O’Meara has the experience to help you beat your charges. Call today at 312-909-0706 and set up a consultation.