Crime lab error leads to six-month audit of drug analysis in Hamilton County

A drug test error at Coroner’s Hamilton County office and crime lab led to a six-month audit review of drug cases. The lab is located in a new, state-of-the-art building in Blue Ash that opened last year. It is responsible for testing suspect drugs in criminal cases, and an inaccurate result from a batch of antacid pills tested in September 2021 led to a review one year later. The investigation stems from a drug possession case outside the town of Springfield. In August 2021, police stopped and searched Brian Freeman at a gas station there, and Freeman admitted he was not perfect. He’s been in trouble with the law in the past and has also dealt with a drug problem. But when the police found an orange Toms in his pants pocket and suspected it was an illegal drug, he maintained his innocence for an entire year. “I was detained, searched and found Toms in my pocket in a bag, and they said they would send to a lab and have it tested.” “Actually they said Tums on tablets.” The crime lab tested the pills in early September and reported that the drug tested positive for cocaine. An arrest warrant was signed for Freeman for drug possession in late December 2021. Freeman did not know there was an arrest warrant for him until he was stopped with his family in the car, including his 8-year-old grandson, a few days after the New Year, Freeman said : “I was held at gunpoint, laid on the floor, saying I had a warrant for cocaine possession.” He spent a week in prison before his family could expel him. He also lost his job as bishop due to the charges he was facing. “I thought ‘I’m definitely going to jail,'” I thought, ’cause who usually gets out of things like this? He said. “First they wanted me to go to drug clinics and classes and come forward. And I said no. I’m not guilty.” His charges were dismissed in favor of justice on August 29, eight months after defense attorney Lynne Punzak was implicated, and Freeman said Pundzak had taken his case free of charge. She fought to retest the drugs. She enlisted the help of the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, which paid more than $1,200 to an independent laboratory to retest the drugs, with results denying any controlled substance. The judge overseeing the case ordered the county crime lab to retest and at the time, the crime lab’s results also came back negative. “I was just moved by his story, and he was really trying to make a difference in his life,” she said. “Although I might be a little surprised when the results came back negative, I was very happy for him.” “The only reason this has happened is because the Office of the Solicitor General was able and willing to fund an expensive, independent test here. That is clearly not possible in every case where someone comes in and says these are not drugs. They are illegal drugs,” John Kennedy said. Kennedy is director of the Criminal Division of the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office. “This is an issue that would shake anyone’s confidence.” “I believe it is highly unlikely that this was the only false positive test done by the Hamilton County Crime Lab.” Kennedy was also implicated in a 2015 murder case that led to a different crime lab audit in 2020. A man was charged with a murder in North Avondale, but was acquitted after the crime lab failed to detect a second DNA injury to the defense team. The Innocence Project A civil rights lawsuit that led to a major settlement and review of homicide cases in the Cincinnati Police Department involving DNA over the course of 7 years. “The lab will maintain that these incidents are isolated, but the sheer number of them raises serious question,” Kennedy said. That they should check all the evidence of evil medicine We are in the Hamilton County crime lab, whether it’s DNA, or whether it’s other evidence.” “Out of extreme caution, we are conducting an internal audit of the analyst’s case law dating back to three months prior to this specific case and three months after this particular case. That scrutiny is still ongoing, and as such, there is no additional information to release at this time, and Andrea Hutten, chief Hamilton County official, said in a statement that emails between the coroner’s office and the attorney general’s office show that the lab did not rule out the possibility of cross-contamination when conducting the test. Defense attorneys who spoke with WLWT Thursday expressed concerns about the scope of the audit and the potential for additional errors in other tests. If you’re a police officer, no one wants distorted convictions and no one wants you to come up with false results from our modern crime lab.” “We don’t really know if this is user error at this point or if this is a problem with their technology, and even We can figure that out, I think it would be wise to do a broader scrutiny.”

A drug test error at Coroner’s Hamilton County office and crime lab led to a six-month audit review of drug cases.

The lab is located in a new, state-of-the-art building in Blue Ash that opened last year. It is responsible for testing suspected drugs in criminal cases.

The inaccurate finding of a batch of antacids tested in September 2021 led to a review one year later. The investigation stems from a drug possession case outside the town of Springfield. In August 2021, police stopped and searched Brian Freeman at a gas station there.

Freeman admits he’s not perfect. He’s been in trouble with the law in the past and has also dealt with a drug problem. But when the police found an orange Toms in his pants pocket and suspected it was an illegal drug, he maintained his innocence for an entire year.

“I was detained and searched and found Toms in my pocket in a bag, and they said they would send them to the lab and have them checked,” he said. “Actually they said Tums on tablets.”

The crime lab tested the pills in early September and reported that the drug tested positive for cocaine. An arrest warrant was signed for Freeman for drug possession in late December 2021.

Freeman didn’t know there was a warrant for his arrest until he was parked with his family in the car, including his 8-year-old grandson, a few days into the New Year.

“I was arrested at gunpoint, and they put me on the floor, saying I had a warrant for cocaine possession,” Freeman said.

He spent a week in prison before his family could expel him. He also lost his job as bishop due to the charges he was facing.

“I thought ‘I’m definitely going to jail,'” I thought, ’cause who usually gets out of things like this? He said. “First they wanted me to go to clinics and drug classes and plead. And I said no. I’m not guilty.”

The charges against him were dismissed in favor of justice on August 29, eight months after defense attorney Lynne Ponzac was implicated.

Freeman said Pundzak took his case for free. She fought to retest the drugs. She enlisted the help of the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office, which paid more than $1,200 to an independent lab to retest the drugs.

The results were negative for any controlled substance. The judge overseeing the case ordered the county crime lab to retest and at the time, the crime lab’s results also came back negative.

“I was just moved by his story, and he was really trying to make a difference in his life,” she said. “Although I might be a little surprised when the results came back negative, I was very happy for him.” “The only reason this has happened is because the Office of the Solicitor General has been able and willing to fund an expensive and independent test here. Obviously, this is not possible in every case where someone comes in and says these are not drugs. Prohibited drugs.”

John F. Kennedy is the director of the Criminal Division of the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office.

“This is a problem that would shake anyone’s confidence,” Kennedy said. “I think it is highly unlikely that this was the only false positive test done by the Hamilton County Crime Lab.”

Kennedy was also involved in a 2015 murder case that led to a different crime lab audit in 2020. A man was charged in a murder in North Avondale but was acquitted after the crime lab failed to detect a second DNA injury to the defense team. The Innocence Project filed a civil rights lawsuit that led to a major settlement and review of murder cases at the Cincinnati Police Department involving DNA over a 7-year period.

“The lab will maintain that these incidents are isolated, but the sheer number of them raises a serious question,” Kennedy said. “I think they should scrutinize all of the forensic evidence in the Hamilton County crime lab, whether that’s DNA, whether it’s other evidence.”

Crime lab officials did not say if there was a theory about how the error occurred.

“Out of great caution, we are conducting an internal audit of the analyst’s case law dating back to three months prior to this specific case and three months after this particular case. This audit is still ongoing, and therefore, there is no additional information to release at this time,” Andrea Hutten said. Hamilton County’s chief administrative officer, said in a statement.

Emails between the coroner’s office and the attorney general’s office show that the laboratory cannot rule out the possibility of cross-contamination when the test is performed.

Defense attorneys who spoke with WLWT Thursday expressed concerns about the scope of the audit and the potential for additional errors in other tests.

“I don’t think it makes any difference whether you’re on the prosecution side or on the defense side or if you’re a police officer, nobody wants distorted convictions and nobody wants false results out of our state-of-the-art crime lab.” “We don’t really know if this is user error at this point or if this is an issue with their technology, and until we can find out, I think it would be wise to do a broader scrutiny.”

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.