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June 21, 2006
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Houston crime lab set to resume DNA testing

The Associated Press

HOUSTON- The DNA division of the Houston Police Department's crime lab, closed for more than three years because of concerns over flawed testing, is set to reopen, city officials said.

The division was shut down in 2002 after an independent audit revealed the use of unqualified personnel, inadequate facilities and lax protocols.

Reviews of the lab's work led to two men's release from prison, including a man who served 17 years for a rape that new forensic tests show he did not commit. Dozens of cases in which analysts' work was inaccurate await adjudication.

Since the closure, private labs have been conducting DNA analysis. The department has revamped its crime lab, hiring a new director and DNA division chief. It also increased the number of analysts in the division from nine to 12.

The department said Tuesday the facility has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. The accreditation certifies that the lab meets minimum standards and is required by Texas law for labs to process evidence.

See related:

Study: Forensic DNA underutilized in U.S.

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