Broken lab equals broken justice

January 12, 2012

I have posted an article here about new revelations that there are serious problems with the processing and reporting of evidence at the Austin crime lab.  If these allegations are true, then we have a serious problem in Austin that needs to be addressed immediately. 

As many of you know, officials in Harris County, Texas are facing an embarassing situation after one of their high ranking assistant district attorneys pled the fifth in front of a grand jury investigating the use of faulty breath machines in DWI cases.  It is unspeakable that one of the leading law enforcement officers in the county would refuse to answer questions of what she knew and when she knew it about faulty or tainted evidence used to convict people on the grounds that it may implicate her in criminal activity.  The fact she is still employed is even more astonishing. 

I would hate to see us get five years down the road and look back only to realize that we should have listened to Ms. Stephens.  This is yet another reason I believe we need a new law that punishes prosecutors who knowingly violate the rights of others.  That's why I created a petition to get such a law passed.  Please take a minute to check it out and sign it.

Prosecutors have a duty to represent everyone - including the accused.  They have to do the right thing even when it is the most difficult thing they may have to do in a long time.  Our system of justice relies on the good faith of the men and women who enforce the law.  If that good faith is broken, so is our justice system.