OKLAHOMA CITY, (AP) -- A fired police chemist whose work in hundreds
cases is being reviewed has filed a federal defamation lawsuit
city and police officials of retaliating because she
reported sexual misconduct.
The chemist, Joyce Gilchrist, who had worked for the Oklahoma City
department since 1980, was fired in September, accused of
work and giving false or misleading testimony in
cases, including some
in which she helped send men to death row.
Ms. Gilchrist's testimony helped put Robert Lee Miller Jr. in prison
11 years for a murder he did not commit. In 1998, he was released
death row based on DNA tests.
Ms. Gilchrist, whose suit seeks $20.1 million, is also the subject of
and federal criminal investigations.
Richard Smith, a lawyer for Oklahoma City, said Ms. Gilchrist had a
to present all evidence before she was fired. Police spokesmen
to comment on the lawsuit.
The suit, filed on Wednesday, said that more than $1 million was
reviewing 1,700 cases and that only one case was overturned
the investigation - that of Jeffrey Todd Pierce in May.
Mr. Todd spent
15 years in prison for a rape he did not commit.
Ms. Gilchrist's lawsuit said she reported misconduct in 1998 by her
against a woman teaching classes on DNA methods. The
of the complaint, the suit said, and began
departmentwide retaliation against
Police later began a secret investigation of her performance and
which eventually led to her losing responsibility for the
police DNA laboratory,
the lawsuit contends.
The new laboratory overseer, Laura Schile, reanalyzed evidence based
Ms. Gilchrist's 1986 courtroom testimony in the Pierce case in
Schile, a forensic chemist, concluded that Ms. Gilchrist's
evidence she had found.
Ms. Gilchrist testified that hair left by the rapist was
consistent" with Mr. Pierce's hair. But federal
investigators said that
hair and fibers were misidentified in his
case and in at least five others.
Mr. Pierce was freed last May after DNA evidence cleared him. Last
he filed a lawsuit seeking $75 million and charging that Ms.
and Bob Macy, a retired Oklahoma County district attorney,
produce false evidence to convict him.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Gilchrist said Mr. Pierce was exonerated by DNA
that was unavailable at the time of his trial. She said that
and others allowed the public to think her analysis