Calif. State Crime Lab Under the Scope

Friday, Apr 23, 2010  |  Updated 10:45 AM PDT
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Four years worth of cases handled by a Ripon crime lab criminalist are being investigated after weight discrepancies were found regarding drugs sent to the Central Valley Crime Lab for analysis.

District attorneys from five central California counties that depend on the lab's services announced Thursday that an investigation has been launched by the California Department of Justice.

Officials said earlier this month that lab management became aware of a breach concerning the handling and analysis of a methamphetamine evidence sample. After investigation and retesting, it was determined that more meth samples handled by the same analyst showed lower weights than first reported.

The criminalist has been placed on administrative leave.

District attorneys say they will begin notifying defendants and defense attorneys in the affected cases, according to Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse.

Deborah Madden, a former technician at a San Francisco crime lab, was recently accused of stealing cocaine evidence from the facility. The scandal has led to the dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases.

This article originally appeared on KCRA.com.

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