Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law

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The failure of crime labs is a major issue in the US

Many Kentucky residents have seen their fair share of "Law & Order" and "CSI." These shows glorify the side of the law that includes the police, the prosecution and evidence gathering. You see complex crime labs with genius technicians using sophisticated tools and technology to prove that a certain piece of evidence is linked to the suspect or to prove that the evidence is indeed what the investigators think it is.

All of this paints a very one-sided view of crime labs. Namely, that they are infallible and trustworthy. In many labs, this is the case. But there are plenty of others that don't fit this cozy description. In fact, there are many crime labs that are downright negligent, and their recklessness likely contributed to putting people away in jail when the suspect may have had a legitimate case to be let go.

More than 100 crime labs in the United States have been found to have major failings over recent years. Some of the examples are abhorrent. There are crime lab technicians who steal drugs and replace them with supplements. There are crime labs that don't follow protocols, fail to clean their utensils and generally don't follow basic guidelines to ensure a fair and proper testing process. And then there are examples of employees who manipulate the results of their tests, directly affecting the outcomes of criminal cases.

It all adds up to a broken system, and it highlights the reason why any person accused of committing a crime needs to consult a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect his or her rights. Just because the police are depicted as heroes doesn't mean every police officer is a hero; and just because "CSI" says every crime lab is infallible doesn't mean it's true. As a suspect, you have rights too.

Source: Business Insider, "FORGET CSI: A Disaster Is Happening In America's Crime Labs," Jordan Michael Smith, April 30, 2014

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Michael J. Thompson, Attorney at Law

16360 Fort Campbell Blvd.
Oak Grove, KY 42262
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Phone: 270-605-0441
Toll Free: 866-397-7788
Fax: 270-439-1177

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