It looks like there are problems down at APD's Evidence Room... again. Over four years ago APD was rocked with allegations that evidence stored at the facility was being mishandled and/or lost (presumably right out the back door)(ABQ Journal - Subscription). Humorously, then AG Patricia Madrid determined that there wasn't enough "evidence" to prosecute (and you wonder why she lost the last election).
APD's Evidence Room is the repository for evidence taken from a crime scene or as part of a criminal investigation. Evidence held at the facility can be just about anything from drugs and money, to TVs and computers. The Evidence Room not only stores all of the evidence collected by the Albuquerque Police Department but also any evidence collected by BCSO. When evidence is lost, so too are the cases that they are associated with.
Our Eyes tell us that just recently the DA's Office was forced to drop several drug cases because the evidence room had "lost" the methamphetamine seized in the investigation. In addition, our Eyes tell us that the situation down at evidence has degraded to the state that it was when the scandal first broke four years ago. Of course it's not like this is a new problems. We told you about one of the problems just over a year ago (read it here).
To make matters worse, the sloppiness over at evidence seems to have moved next door to the crime lab - APD's CSI. According to our Eyes the over-worked unit has been cutting some corners procedurally speaking that could result in the lab's results being challenged. The concern in 5th Floor circles is that a defense attorney will discover the procedural shortcuts and have their client's convictions thrown out. If even one conviction is overturned, you can bet that any criminal convicted using evidence processed at the crime lab will be challenged (as it should be).
Cutting corners is not an option in forensic science. It undermines the credibility of the findings. If the crime lab is truly overworked then we need to add the necessary personnel and facilities to handle the load. Allowing a criminal to go free because of a procedural error is unacceptable - and so is convicting someone who's innocent based on faulty science.