Detroit Ballistics Database errors likely imprisoned innocent people.


New member
Remember - keeping ballistic databases of citizens firearms is just "common sense gun laws."

Detroit Police lab shut down after probe finds errors


The Detroit Police crime lab is so riddled with errors that officials ordered an immediate shut down today, saying that the local criminal justice system could be at risk.

A Michigan State Police audit of the Detroit Police firearms lab revealed a 10% error rate in ballistic evidence and led to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and Police Chief James Barren to announce the closing of all operations of the crime lab.

“If we have even one person in prison on evidence that was improperly done, that’s a huge problem,” Worthy said. “As prosecutors we completely rely on the findings of police crime lab experts every day in court and we present this information to juries. And when there are failures of this magnitude, there is a complete betrayal of trust.”

The audit said: “If this 10 % error-rate holds, the negative impact on the judicial system would be substantial, with a strong likelihood of wrongful convictions and a valid concern about numerous appeals.”

Questions about the firearms testing in the Detroit lab were raised in April after defense attorney Marvin Barnett determined that police mishandled evidence in a shooting case. Former Chief Ella Bully-Cummings closed the firearms unit and requested the State Police to conduct an audit.

Barnett was trying a double homicide case and questioned whether 42 spent shell casings could have come from the same weapon as the crime lab indicated. He hired former Michigan State Police firearms examiner David Balash to review the evidence, and determined that 17 casings came from one weapon and 25 came from a second weapon.

“Oh My God I cant tell you how catastrophic this is,” Balash said today after learning about the audit “That kind of number – I never would have thought it. You could have people in prison who shouldn’t be there.”

Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. also attended a press conference this morning at Detroit Police Headquarters to announce the findings. Cockrel and Barren made the decision to close the entire lab, which also handles fingerprints, DNA and drug evidence.

“I want to make it very clear that the problems that have since been uncovered as a result of this audit did not occur on my watch,” Cockrel said. “However they have now come to light on my watch. We have a serious problem within the crime lab.”

Worthy said members of her staff will team up with Barren and Michigan State Police investigators to review crime lab findings.

The problems could lead to numerous appeals, Worthy said.

“It's a huge can of worms,” she said, adding that criminal charges are a possibility.

All 68 employees of Detroit's crime lab will be reassigned while an examination into what caused the problems takes place, Barren said.

“I assure you we’re one team and we’re going to get to the bottom of this,” he said.

I'm not surprise, the government runs the program

That happened in Massachusetts recently, a few cases was dismissed/over-turned, unfortunately mass does not expunge records, so the victims still have to explain their record every-time they apply for a job or program that requires criminal records check.

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Latest member