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State crime lab in Cheney mishandled cases

Tue., April 16, 2013, 11:09 a.m.

Manager resigns amid investigation

An investigation into mishandled cases by the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Cheney has forced the resignation of the manager.

The Washington State Patrol claims no wrongful convictions resulted from the alleged misconduct.

The investigation revealed that at least five cases had been mishandled and that the crime lab claimed to have completed lab casework that was, in fact, not done.

Workers at the crime lab raised concerns to investigators.

“We continue to have confidence in the work of our front-line scientists and supervisors in Cheney, and at our other labs throughout the state,” said WSP Crime Laboratory Division Commander James Tarver. “These allegations involved a single laboratory manager, and do not appear to reflect upon any of our other personnel.”

An internal audit of cases and evidence handling has been ordered.

The cases at the center of the investigation are older matters, assigned to the manager when he first was a front-line crime lab scientist.

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