AUSTIN (kXAN) - Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said Thursdaythat DNA samples
The complaint made in February by former lab analyst CecilyHamilton outlined a variety of concerns:
- a hostile work environment
- supervisor issues
- quality issues - specifically, inadequate analyst training
In a news conference with Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo,Lehmberg pointed out that the complaint didn't allege contaminationof DNA evidence, nor did it allege anything malicious orallegations of "malfeasance" on the part of the lab - all of whichcould cause the evidence to be thrown out in cases. She said theywere also contacting defendants in the cases that may have beenaffected, which go back at least three years.
On the contrary, she said, the FBI has done numerous andextensive audits on both the police department's DNA lab and theevidence itself - as recently as April 2010 - and found noproblems.
The complaint itself was reviewed by police officials at thetime it was filed. They found that the complaints were unfounded,Acevedo said.
But Lehmberg said her office, working with Acevedo, wouldreassess the complaint and the samples in light of the complaint -and suggestions by defense attorneys that their cases couldbenefit.
"We're going to do everything we can to locate every defenseattorney that had anything to do with a case that might have beenaffected by DNA," Lehmberg said. "I have read the extensive audithistory, when this is all said and done, I believe there will be noproblems. ...Given these allegations, we must take thingsseriously. We will do everything we can to ensure the integrity ofthe investigation."
The lab has been audited seven times in the last six years, shesaid:
- March 2004 FBI conducted internal audit and no problems.
- March 2005 FBI conducted external independent audit with no problems
- March 2005 American Society of Forensic Science, composed of experts including crime lab directors, conducted an independent, external audit, no concerns
- July 2006 FBI audit, no concerns noted
- June 2009 - FBI audit, no concerns noted
- Sept. 2009 – FBI audit, no concerns noted
- April 2010 FBI audit, no concerns noted
Lehmberg said law requires them to turn over to defenseattorneys any information that might affect their cases, even afterthe fact, and that doing is so is both a "legal and ethicalobligation" - and that the attorneys have the right to use it ifthey can.
"We’re in the beginning of this so we don’t knowexactly how it will affect the individual cases," she said.
UT President Bill Powers may finally learn whether he'll continue to run one of the nation's largest campuses.
Thousands of senior citizens in Central Texas go without holiday gifts. Now a donation drive needs the public's help to collect more and help wrap them.
The judge presiding over the trial to oust District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg ruled Wednesday that she'll stay in office.
Mack Brown’s longtime friend and attorney said Wednesday that the veteran coach of the Longhorns has not yet made a decision on his future, but that it will come soon.
Options for high speed Internet in Austin continue to expand. Google Fiber is coming to Austin soon, and now AT&T has announced the city will be the first for its own faster-than-ever Internet speeds.
As reports swirl about the future of Mack Brown, one thing is certain: Brown has presided over a vast expansion in the value of Longhorns football.