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Audit Exposes Investigative Errors in 65 Harris County Cases

Otto Mation

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HARRIS COUNTY (Covering Katy) – The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is notifying defense lawyers that a crime-scene investigator made errors in 65 cases dating back to October of 2015. The findings could jeopardize the prosecution in some, if not all, of the cases.

The findings emerged from a recent audit of work done by a Houston Police Department officer who was assigned to conduct crime scene investigations under the supervision of the Houston Forensic Science Center.

Prosecutors are sending notifications about the findings and the name of the office to lawyers in each case involved.

“Defense lawyers are going to have a chance to determine for themselves the relevance of these errors or omissions,” said Tom Berg, first assistant for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. “Because most of these cases have not yet been fully adjudicated, we won’t speculate on the possible impact, if any.”

The review of 88 cases handled by the officer determined that 65 had incomplete documentation, 32 had administrative errors and, in eight cases, evidence had been misplaced.

Cases with errors include 26 homicides and five officer involved shootings.

As a result of the audit, the Houston Forensic Science Center amended the 65 reports and notified the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

The audit was ordered after errors were noticed in a few cases investigated by the officer.

The crime-scene officer has since been reassigned to a patrol position within the Houston Police Department.

A supervisor who conducted an initial technical review of the officer’s work, and did not notice the quality issues, has been temporarily removed from review duties.

The post Audit Exposes Investigative Errors in 65 Harris County Cases appeared first on Covering Katy News.

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