Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Griffin discusses his experience in a case against the Nassau County crime lab. Because so many problems were discovered within the crime lab, it has since been shut down. This has lead to several Long Island cases being reopened.
“I think, unfortunately, too many attorneys take for granted forensic evidence. They don’t question it. They don’t put on their own experts. Assuming that the evidence of the government is satisfactory is a tremendous mistake that should never be made.
Here in Nassau County we brought the first case to essentially attack the
credibility of the Nassau County Crime Lab. The case was instrumental
in exposing the extent of the widespread problems of the crime lab that
have occurred over a long period of time, and ultimately, I think it was
instrumental in the closing of the crime lab.
What we found, and what the case exposed, was that there was problems at that lab that were deep-rooted and had been going on for a long time, and this affected so many criminal cases. We are talking about drug testing, blood alcohol testing, ballistic testing, handwriting testing. Everything that crime lab did, and has done, is now up for question.
A couple things have come of that. Number one is that it has allowed us to question many of the prior convictions of clients that have come to this firm now who maybe were represented by other people and saying, “Could you look at my case and tell me if I can reopen my case?” and we’ve been able to do that for people. Number two, it allows us to ensure that we have a basis of knowledge for questioning any evidence that’s come out of that crime lab on pending cases and any evidence that might come out of a future crime lab on cases that are coming through.”