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On Friday, June 7th, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers released a letter and report from the Mountain States Employee Council, Inc., (MSEC) regarding a workplace investigation and personnel matter reviewed at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). While the MSEC investigative report highlights perceived personnel and training issues, these issues have received attention in the public domain and through litigation over the past two years. Nowhere does it make findings of inaccurate or corrupted test results being utilized in a court proceeding. In fact, the numerous safeguards that are in place would make the reporting of such inaccurate test results remote. Colorado’s prosecutors are obligated to ensure the integrity of the criminal justice system in Colorado on behalf of not only victims and our communities, but also the accused. The job of the prosecutor is to seek justice not convictions. Any statement implying otherwise by any party is spurious, reckless and void of merit. There are a number of checks and balances inherent in the process to ensure that the prosecutor and the defendant in a criminal case receive an accurate and trustworthy result. Some of those checks include:
The only “new” revelation in the report is an assertion that a supervisor at the state lab exhibited a bias in favor of prosecutors on several occasions by verbally exhibiting pleasure or satisfaction with the successful prosecution of defendants or the importance of his/her role as an expert witness. This is separate and distinct from objective scientific results. The report makes no finding to suggest that this individual tampered with evidence, created false test results or otherwise compromised any test or testing procedure in the lab. The accuracy and integrity of the testing processes in the CDPHE lab are integral to the criminal justice process and rectifying any issues that might result in inaccurate results must be a priority for Colorado. Further, Colorado’s prosecutors are committed to reviewing cases where it is demonstrated that the validity of the scientific results may be questionable. In summary, Colorado’s prosecutors remain dedicated to protecting and maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system and the rights of the accused.
June 10, 2013
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