They Don’t Do Background Checks?!

Pretty much every large employer does background checks, right?  Maybe not on low level staff but definitely  on supervisors, especially those whose jobs effect the lives and liberty of thousands of people, right?

You would only hope so.

Another scandal has rocked crime labs in San Francisco and is directly related to DUI convictions there:

Problems of S.F. toxicologist not disclosed

(05-26) 12:03 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco coroner’s supervising toxicologist vouched for blood-test results in drunken-driving cases for two years before prosecutors told defense attorneys that a Washington state court had labeled her as a "perpetrator of fraud" while running that state’s toxicology lab, The Chronicle has learned.

The article goes on to point out:

From 1999 to 2007, Gordon ran the Washington state toxicology lab, whose main job was to analyze tests in drunken-driving cases. State agencies discovered in 2007 that Gordon had vouched in court for the reliability of alcohol-detection equipment when she had not performed the tests herself.

Gordon quit her job in 2007 after "a panel of three King County judges concluded that Gordon had been a ‘perpetrator of fraud’ and made ‘ethical compromises.’ "  The DA’s office claims that it had no idea about Gordon’s past indiscretions.

So they hired her for a $104,000/year job as a supervisor for a crime lab without a background check?  How silly is that? How credible are the tests she certified over the last two years?  How many innocent people are suffering from false convictions because of her? 

All of this comes on the heels of the discovery that a lab technician, Deborah Madden, was stealing drugs from samples that the she was supposed to be testing.  (She was also convicted of a misdemeanor in a domestic matter that the S.F. DA’s office said they had no idea about.)  Recently a judge declared that the conduct of DA’s office in not disclosing Madden’s conduct "is a violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights".

Folks this is happening all over the country.  These crime labs are sloppy, the oversight is poor and innocent people are in jail- all on our tax dollars.  It’s high time to clean up this mess.

-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney

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PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

5 responses to “They Don’t Do Background Checks?!”

  • Justin,
    I agree that there is probably much inconsistency and inaccuracy in lab areas, but how do we find this out, verify or challenge labs in PA? What is the process?
    I’ve tried to locate who it is that tests and calibrates intoxylizers for area departments, with no success. VERY private info, maybe on purpose??
    Just a thought. Thanks.

  • The process is for defense counsel to stop stipulating to analytical chemistry results.
    The dirty secret is that each police entity does its own accuracy and calibration check internally and there is no preventative maintenance program. In other words, they “run the wheels off” the machine until there is catastrophic problems then it goes to the manufacturer.

    • Not to be silly about the question or flippant in my response, but Google would be a good start. NCIC search as well as Accurint searches should be mandatory. Competency and proficiency testing would be great. Basic due diligence.

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