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Mistakes in Testing Lead to Six False Positives in California Crime Lab

By Al Amer on June 2, 2014 - Comments off

A northern California crime lab recently reported that six positive tests for methamphetamine were actually false positives, according to a recent article from Central Coast News. Although the false positives occurred in the lab in Santa Clara County, experienced criminal defense attorneys in Long Beach and Los Angeles are following the news, knowing that a false positive is possible in any crime lab.

The mistakes occurred when a crime lab technician used the wrong chemical to carry out testing on blood samples of people suspected of controlled substance use. The six false positives were included in over 2,500 blood samples taken from people who had been arrested.

The original testing, resulting in the false positives, took place between January and March 2014. Last month, another technician who was performing re-tests on the samples discovered the mistake.

None of the people who were arrested are currently in custody because of the false positives, according to prosecutors. However, prosecutors say they plan to improve the procedures at the drug lab to reduce the risk of a similar problem happening again in the future. Proposed changes include labeling chemical bottles more clearly so that technicians do not mix them up.

According to the district attorney’s office, the lab technician who made the mistake has been reassigned while the problem is being investigated.

A false positive on a drug test or other crime lab test can lead to a world of hurt for a person accused of committing a crime. Having an attorney who will fight aggressively to uncover false positives and present the strongest possible case is vital.

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Posted in: Criminal Defense


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