In what might be the largest case involving crime lab test tampering, it will be catastrophic in terms of the results, says retired Superior Court Judge of Santa Clara, California, Eugene Hyman. He believes that the motivating factor for this Massachusetts Crime Lab analyst to falsify thousands of tests was just being recognized and appreciated for the volume of work that she produced.
"It becomes a nightmare in terms of going through all of the records to determine if she was the analyst," says Hyman. After identifying the population, Judge Hyman believes that the state will have to notify every defendant in every case that this lab analyst touched and as a defendant, they would most likely want to contest their conviction as a result of this. Each case is going to have to be examined and in Hyman's experience from drug cases, is that in a lot of them it's not going to matter because there's other facts, statements, witnesses and other analysts testing different samples. There could be different counts where different analysts were assigned and Hyman believes very few defendants are actually going to leave as a result of this.
That being said, Hyman points out the huge potential for civil liability, as one has to say to the state that there needs to be a system of review with regards to their analysts. "Not having an appropriate system where a person can do this for years and not get caught is a violation of duty and depending upon if the convictions get reversed, there might be economic consequences," Hyman says. He believes that it is going to be more expensive to figure this all out than it will potentially be in terms of damages.
Hyman believes the analyst might be facing criminal charges, under both state and federal law. Under state law, she is interfering with justice and under federal law, it is a violation of a person's civil rights in terms of falsifying data. For every test she falsified, that is a count and there are a lot of counts, so she is going to be looking at quite a bit of jail time, Hyman adds.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.