Texas Has a Real Problem with Forensic Testing Accountability
An El Paso Texas Department of Public Safety forensic analyst faked 22 blood results and the Texas Forensic Commission finds she was negligent. Faking blood results is not mere negligence. It is criminal and can ruin the lives of many. Let’s break this situation down to clarify the issue . . .
What went wrong?
A Texas Department of Public Safety forensic analyst, Ana Lilia Romero, had 22 blood samples to retest. Instead, she did a cut and paste job of the earlier test results. This is criminal misconduct, no mere negligence. Negligence occurs, for example, when you accidentally forget to record the storage room refrigerator temperature because you were in a hurry. Criminal Misconduct is reporting results for 22 tests that you did not perform.
Why not count the first lab results?
Well, protocol required that she retest the 22 blood samples because of equipment failure. Equipment failure is, obviously, a serious issue that can affect the results of a blood test.
Who would actually go so far as to fake lab results?
The general population would tell you that no one would. Many of these same people would also tell you that if anyone ever did, the lab should fire them. Well, this pattern of criminal misconduct exists at the Texas Department of Public Safety. This is not the first time Texas DPS caught an analyst faking results or “dry labbing”. The Department did not fire the previous analyst, nor did they fire Ms. Romero (she resigned). Though accidents do happen, the important thing is to catch the mistake and fix it. Questions arose as to this analyst’s truthfulness when questioned about the incident under oath in a court of law. Texas DPS decided to reassign this analyst to a different lab rather than have him continue to do blood tests in the Texas DPS Garland laboratory.
What should happen after finding misconduct in forensic testing?
When this happens in other states, the district attorney notifies all affected people (tests run by the same analyst). Often, due to the malfeasance and lack of trustworthiness in the analyst’s work, a district attorney will choose to throw out the former tests.
What is happening in Texas?
The fact that the Texas Forensic Science Commission chose to find negligence, rather than misconduct, indicates that it is not willing to stop protecting its wrongdoers. The Commission exists to protect the citizens of Texas, not wrongdoers. https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2019/08/26/texas-forensic-science-commission-backs- finding-professional-negligence-el-paso-blood-alcohol-test/2121471001/
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