Detroit crime lab must retest 147 cases


Associated Press

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DETROIT — Authorities have identified 147 cases that will require retesting of evidence handled by a city police lab shuttered over test errors.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy told the Detroit Free Press in a story published Sunday that those cases had led to convictions and that the number represents the "tip of the iceberg." She said defense lawyers notified her office of 30 other cases that they believe relied on mishandled evidence.

In December, Worthy announced that authorities would review files from 2003 through most of 2008 to search for cases where the lab may have misjudged gun evidence. The work is expected to take at least three years.

The Detroit crime lab was shut down in September after a Michigan State Police audit found errors in 10 percent of 200 random gun cases. The city's lab work now is being handled by state police forensic scientists.

Errors in the processing of evidence at the Detroit lab have led to a new trial for Jarrhod Williams, who had pleaded no-contest to second-degree murder charges in a 2007 shooting. The lab had determined that 42 shell casings from the shooting were from the same weapon but state police later determined two different weapons were used, prompting Worthy to call for the audit.

Williams was allowed to withdraw his pleas and his second trial is scheduled for March 30.

 

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