HPD's Got Evidence Issues
When it comes to providing judges and juries with objective lab analyses, Houston Police Department (HPD) falls absolutely short. Houstonians deserve far better than the quality of HPD blood analysis. There are more specific evidence issues, of course, but they’re generally on a case-by-case basis. For right now, though, the following evidence issues keep coming up, with no resolution in sight:
Whether it’s HPD, Pasadena PD, or Harris County, the testing labs are all run by someone with a vested interest in law enforcement. Independently-funded researchers promote unbiased science, not the ones obviously favoring the police because of coercion.
When analysts routinely come in and testify, out of fear of losing their job, that there are no problems with the evidence, that’s the sign of a pretty major problem. One in particular has stated on numerous occasions that she has prepared tens of thousands of vials and never made a mistake. She also says that she has only testified on behalf of the State and never testified that the result was inaccurate.
A perfect scientific government lab and scientist? Really? Totally ludicrous. The citizens of Texas need independent labs testing blood, drugs and DNA if they want the fair outcomes they deserve.
Master’s programs typically groom their lab analysts to work for the State. Most analysts chosen for State employment and testimonials have never written any peer reviewed studies or lectured on gas chromatography or the effects of alcohol on the body.
All State training is paid for by the State and targeted towards testifying on behalf of the State, with courses like “How to be a good expert witness,” “Expert testimony training for the Prosecutor and Scientist – Part 1,” “Expert testimony training for the Prosecutor and Scientist – Part 2,” and “Law and Forensic Science”. Smart juries recognize the bias of the analyst.
A real expert—as in a real, totally unbiased expert—doesn’t need classes to tell the truth. Nor does he or she have to take classes designed to support the prosecutor. These analysts are just parrots for the State. They’ll say anything they’re told to say as long as they don’t have to worry about losing their jobs. That’s not science. That’s not justice.
Simply put, pipette 5127 failed calibration when checked by an independent lab.
Per HPD standard operating procedure, the lab is supposed to check the calibration of their pipettes twice a year. So, every six months, right? Turns out that “twice a year” is subject to interpretation. This is why analysts allow their pipettes go 8 and 10 months before checking calibration. Which is very much an issue, since HPD sent Pipette 5127 to Allometrics, an independent lab, and it failed calibration.
Pipette 5127 is used to draw the blood and mix it with the known standard. Juries have even called out the DAs and HPD for failing to provide reliable lab evidence. Yet they still refuse to admit that this not-so-minor fact has a huge impact on the final results. It’s simply unbelievable.
IMPROPER METHOD USE
HPD was ASCLD certified for running the gas chromatograph (GC) using an explicitly-defined method. This is public information, published in their standard operating procedures. Specifically, they developed a method for the gas chromatograph outlining and promising to follow this specific operation.
For almost a year, HPD used a completely different method than the one they’re required to perform. One that isn’t a matter of public record. When confronted, analysts have begun crawfishing and bringing in new mysterious methods to support flaw free testing.
When asked how we are supposed to know that was the correct method, they usually respond: Trust me. Except there is no “trust me” when it comes to science. HPD allegedly figured out how to print the method they currently use, though it’s still questionable if they are manipulating the data. Strangely, most analysts never seem to know which approach was used on which case. This haphazard attitude isn’t at all conducive to protecting the innocent.
BLOOD RESULT DEFIES COMMON SENSE AND THE VIDEO
Analysts never watch videos. In their two- to three-hour testimonials, they’ll go on about the accuracy of their blood alcohol testing and how intoxicated people can behave at specific levels – sometimes even the physical effects. But at no point will they ever acknowledge video footage. They never see it. They refuse to discuss why the client doesn’t look intoxicated on the video. Probably because they will have a hard time explaining why someone looks great on abnormal field sobriety tests despite their high alcohol level! Either the client defies the laws of science, or the GC machine is wrong. Seeing as how analysts will never admit that they could make mistakes, they rely on a fail safe excuse of tolerance.
However, a high tolerance level can make someone function fine because they “practice” walking and talking when they are intoxicated. Normal people never practice the highly technical, proper standard field sobriety tests. Unless they know the tests and practice them when they are intoxicated, of course. Tolerance only masks activities people practice when intoxicated. Standard field sobriety tests are not normal exercises people practice while intoxicated. Therefore, tolerance cannot excuse a good video with a high blood alcohol concentration.
FIGHT EVIDENCE ISSUES
Thiessen Law Firm knows all of HPD’s tricks to trap innocent people. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DWI, BWI, or other crime, contact us. We’re well prepped to handle every unjust tactic the State will employ, and committed to ensuring Texans receive the fair trial to which they are entitled. Let us help.