44 is a big number

When you’re talking about the number of times a crime lab employee at the Sacto DA’s office improperly processed DNA evidence before he or she got fired.

The deal is that all samples of DNA evidence are supposed to be double-checked by another person, and this person didn’t have that done — at least 44 times.

I find this to be abhorrent. It is luck — pure luck — that on review of these samples only one needed fixing (and that was apparently only a technical error). The point of having DNA samples double-checked is to ensure their accuracy before they are used to deprive alleged criminals of their liberty, and in more drastic cases, their lives. The fact that the person who violated this important protocol was otherwise competent at their job is not all that important here. What is important, and what I hope the DA’s office is now trying to figure out, is why it took them 44 times to catch on?

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