The Houston Police Department's Crime Lab Division has had its share oftroubles over the years with DNA processing. It was a nightmare for localprosecutors..However, with millions recently pumped into the facility cityleaders thought the problems were in the past.
But FOX 26 news has learned there is a new internal investigation underwayat HPD's Crime Lab. It all came to light after an employee we're notidentifying abruptly resigned in mid-March.
That investigation examines whether the employee - a criminalist for twoyears - did not follow procedures. Our sources tell us it's how theformer worker handled evidence in criminal cases assigned to the division.
Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh is on the public safety committee atCity Hall which monitors HPD. Kubosh says, "yes it concerns mebecause I know that the district attorney's office is going to be usingwhatever evidence from our crime lab to prosecute and we want to make sure thatevidence is beyond reproach."
We've also learned HPD has notified the Harris County District Attorney'soffice about the former employee and the criminal cases or evidence he handled.A spokesperson says they've received a list of cases and they're trying to determinehow to proceed once the internal probe is completed.
FOX 26 Legal Analyst Chris Tritico says he believes the crime lab worker'sactions have the potential to harm cases that are currently in the hands of theD.A.'s office.
Tritico says, "they have to notify defense attorneys and everydefendant that's been affected by this person's work."
A spokesperson for HPD confirms the internal probe but declined to go intoany detail about how many cases if any could be affected by the former crimelab employee.
We've obtained an internal memo written by HPD's Crime Lab Director IrmaRios.
It's the notification of the former employee's resignation from the crime lab.In that memo Rios says quote - I would not recommend the worker be rehired.
Councilman Kubosh says this latest revelation involving the crime lab isdisappointing at best.
He says, "I was unaware of anything like this happening but it doesbring concern to me and it should bring concern to the citizens ofHouston."
Especially those whose guilt or innocence could be on the line and among thecases handled by the former crime lab worker.