The Houston Police Department’s Crime Lab Division has had its share of troubles over the years with DNA processing. It was a nightmare for local prosecutors..However, with millions recently pumped into the facility city leaders thought the problems were in the past.
But FOX 26 news has learned there is a new internal investigation underway at HPD’s Crime Lab. It all came to light after an employee we’re not identifying abruptly resigned in mid-March.
That investigation examines whether the employee – a criminalist for two years – did not follow procedures. Our sources tell us it’s how the former worker handled evidence in criminal cases assigned to the division.
Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh is on the public safety committee at City Hall which monitors HPD. Kubosh says, “yes it concerns me because I know that the district attorney’s office is going to be using whatever evidence from our crime lab to prosecute and we want to make sure that evidence is beyond reproach.”
We’ve also learned HPD has notified the Harris County District Attorney’s office about the former employee and the criminal cases or evidence he handled. A spokesperson says they’ve received a list of cases and they’re trying to determine how to proceed once the internal probe is completed.
FOX 26 Legal Analyst Chris Tritico says he believes the crime lab worker’s actions have the potential to harm cases that are currently in the hands of the D.A.’s office.
Tritico says, “they have to notify defense attorneys and every defendant that’s been affected by this person’s work.”
A spokesperson for HPD confirms the internal probe but declined to go into any detail about how many cases if any could be affected by the former crime lab employee.
We’ve obtained an internal memo written by HPD’s Crime Lab Director Irma Rios.
It’s the notification of the former employee’s resignation from the crime lab. In that memo Rios says quote – I would not recommend the worker be rehired.
Councilman Kubosh says this latest revelation involving the crime lab is disappointing at best.
He says, “I was unaware of anything like this happening but it does bring concern to me and it should bring concern to the citizens of Houston.”
Especially those whose guilt or innocence could be on the line and among the cases handled by the former crime lab worker.