New doubt cast on testing in Houston Police crime lab – with Comments


The police crime laboratory in Houston, already reeling from a scandal that has led to retesting of evidence in 360 cases, now faces a much larger crisis that could involve many thousands of cases over 25 years. * 1

Charles: Here they still, even in 2004, lacked basic knowledge or gave false testimony to help with the conviction of an innocent man. I really find it hard to believe that these forensic scientists don’t know how to read or interpret blood typing result’s.  I mean I would think that is basic 101 teaching, one of the first things they teach them. I personally believe that it is due to the Crime labs thinking they are actually part of the police folks and part of their team, and as such they will give false testimony to  help with convictions. I also believe that Chu in my case knowingly end intentionally lied. He knows how to read and understand blood typing when the evidence actually matches the defendant. But not when there is nothing linking the defendant to the crime. So he helps by giving false testimony. What a man!

Six independent forensic scientists, in a report to be filed in a Houston state court today, said that a crime laboratory official — because he either lacked basic knowledge of blood typing or gave false testimony — helped convict an innocent man of rape in 1987.

The panel concluded that crime laboratory officials might have offered “similarly false and scientifically unsound” reports and testimony in other cases, and it called for a comprehensive audit spanning decades to re-examine the results of a broad array of rudimentary tests on blood, semen and other bodily fluids. * 2.

Charles: This paragraph says it all. “similarly, false and scientifically unsound”, reports and testimony in other cases. This show that the cix independent forensic scientists, concluded that there is same very shady things going on at the Houston crime lab.

Elizabeth A. Johnson, a former director of the DNA laboratory at the Harris County medical examiner’s office in Houston, said the task would be daunting. *3.

Charles: This is Doctor Elizabeth A. Johnson, the very woman who blew the lid off the crime lab which resulted in all these independent investigations. they fired her for reporting them. She is also my expert whom testified in my Chapter 64 DNA hearing. And just because she couldn’t say with certainty that the Male DNA found was not that of the killer, my judge found her testimony lacking and unpersuaded. To me, my judge commenting on Dr Johnsons not being able to conclusively say it was that of the killer and using that a part of her reason to deny me, is to me, my judge holding me to the ‘Absolute standard’ which is not how it works. My judge wants me to prove this DNA is that of the killer. I cannot do that if they will not at the very least ask the grandsons friends to take a test. If the prosecution can speculate on this theory, then they should have to allow me to prove it isn’t one of the friends, or it is one of the two. But yeah, the city of Houston is not a big fan of Dr Johnson. I believe she sued their asses for wrongful termination for firing her and won. Good for her.

“A conservative number would probably be 5,000 to 10,000 cases, Dr. Johnson said. “If you add in hair, it’s off the board.”

The official whose testimony was challenged, James Bolding, said in a telephone interview that he did not recall the particular case. But Mr. Bolding said that both his scientific work and his testimony were always careful and professional. When he testified in 1987, he was the supervisor of the laboratory’s serology unit. He later became the head of its DNA unit.

His testimony helped convict George Rodriguez, who has served 17 years for raping a 14-year-old girl in 1987. DNA results have now cleared him, according to court-ordered testing, and the papers to be filed today will seek his release. As in many of the 146 DNA exonerations across the country, the new information also calls into question the scientific evidence used to convict Mr. Rodriguez in the first place.

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A re-examination of the work by the Houston crime laboratory is already under way, but only of the DNA evidence used to convict people. That effort involves hundreds of cases and has produced a staggering workload, prosecutors in Houston say. One man has been exonerated, and significant problems have arisen in at least 40 cases.

The discovery of flawed work in the laboratory that led to the Rodriguez conviction would seem to require similar reviews of its work, legal experts said, but prosecutors would not immediately say what they will do or whether they will oppose Mr. Rodriguez’s release.

Barry Scheck, one of Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyers, said that Harris County was the worst place in America for a crime laboratory scandal.

“We know already that they couldn’t do DNA testing properly,” Mr. Scheck said. “Now we have a scandal that calls into question many thousands more cases. And this jurisdiction has produced more executions than any other county in America.”

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, Texas has executed 323 people, 73 for crimes in Harris County.

A state audit of the crime laboratory, completed in December 2002, has found that DNA technicians there misinterpreted data, were poorly trained and kept shoddy records. In many cases, the technicians used up all         available evidence making it impossible for defense experts to refute or verify their results Even the laboratory s building was a mess, with a leaky roof contaminating evidence. * 4

Charles: . here they speak of ‘misinterpreting data, were poorly trained and kept shoddy records’. I don’t believe for one moment that Chu ‘misinterpreted’ his finding. And how could a man whom the state relied on time and time again to testify in open court be ‘poorly trained’? They called him in I believe over 40 or more cases from his testimony, because the man knew how to read a report and interpreted his findings. They are not going to repeatedly call a clown to testify that doesn’t know what the hall he is doing. But here is the part that get me, and it fits Chu to a perfect ‘T’, ‘the technicians used up all the available evidence’

Again I would think in basic class they tell them ‘don’t use up all the evidence if you don’t have to, always save some for retesting …even I who never did any testing would have enough snap to save something! So as with my case, we got very very lucky, he still used more than he should had, and now from my understanding, there is nothing to retest. But we got the DNA results and it is absolutely not my DNA. It is of an unknown male. The messy laboratory and leaky roof contaminating evidence is what Dr Johnson Reported on. Which she in turn was fired for doing.

The DNA unit was shut down soon afterward, and it remains closed.”

Police officers and prosecutors vowed to retest DNA evidence in every case where it was used to obtain a conviction. The size of that job, far smaller than the one called for by experts in the Rodriguez case, has involved many thousands of hours.

“It’s massive,” said Marie Munier, the assistant district attorney supervising the re-examinations. “If you had asked me when it happened would it take us over two years to complete this, I would have said: ‘You’re crazy. No way.”

“Maybe if they’d gotten 50 or 100 people,” she added, “they could have gotten it done faster.”

Ms. Munier said retesting had resulted in one exoneration, that of Josiah Sutton, who was released last year after serving more than four years for a rape he did not commit. *5

Charles: This is a very lucky man, I hope he is living a full and rich life now. They submitted false evidence / testimony. As they knowingly did my case. It is unclear in this man’s case if the prosecution was aware of the false testimony. But one thing is dear in my case, my prosecutor damn well knew Chu was giving false testimony, why else would my prosecutor withhold the lab report from my trail attorney? I would really like to see if there are any cases where my prosecutor and Chu worked together, or any other DNA cases my prosecutor questioned a lab technician about the DNA results. It is dear that my DA questioned Chu about many other things, but not once did he make any mention of Chu’s finding, not even after my trial attorney Felix Cantu opens the door for him to do so, he had ‘no further questions’.

Though DNA is often thought of as a tool for exonerations, prosecutors in Mr. Sutton’s case had used it to convict him, submitting false scientific evidence asserting that there was a solid match between Mr. Suttons DNA and that found at the crime scene. In fact, 1 of every 8 black people, including Mr. Sutton, shared the relevant DNA profile. More refined retesting cleared him.

Ms. Munier said her office had overseen retesting in 360 DNA cases so far. “In 18 cases, they were unable to confirm the original H.P.D. results,” she said, referring to the Houston Police Department. “In 21 cases, I am told by H.P.D. that additional testing is in progress because the first tests did not confirm the original results. In six cases, the retests confirmed the original inclusion or exclusion, but the H.P.D.’s statistical analysis was off.”

She said that defendants and their lawyers were being told of these results, and that they were free to file motions contesting their convictions. *6

Charles: I never received any letter like that, not back then, I recall that clearly. They transported a few on on DR to the Bird unit for some type of hearing on this. Hell, my case fell right along the same lines as these guys … but they still never sent me or my attorney any letter.

That approach has critics. “In Harris County,” said William C. Thompson, a professor of criminology at the University of California, lrvine, who has followed the crime laboratory scandals closely, “defendants were prosecuted with flawed scientific evidence and defended by court-appointed lawyers who lacked the knowledge and resources to challenge it and complain about the injustice. Now that the scandal has come to light, the system is relying on the same inept, timid lawyers to make It right.”. *7.

Charles: This paragraph speaks volumes. ‘Court appointed attorney lack the knowledge and resources to challenge the state’.  And even when they are lucky enough to get testing done … in Houston, who do you think the testing is done by? the HPD crime lab.

There were signs of problems in Mr. Rodriguez’s case from the start.

On Feb. 24, 1987, two men abducted and raped a 14-year-old girl. One, Manuel Beltran, confessed. Mr. Beltran and his brother Uvaldo said the second rapist was Isidro Yanez. Mr. Yanez’s car was used in the abduction. The victim selected Mr. Yanez and Mr. Rodriguez from photographs before identifying Mr. Rodriguez as the second rapist. *8.

Charles: This guy Rodriguez, he had to sue and won. but what is wild about this story? The TCCA judge Sharon Keller said, ‘he could had worn a condom’. This woman hates death row inmates with a passion, I think she gets off on knowing someone is being executed. Granted she is tough of criminals in general, it’s her job. But there is something about Death row prisoners that this woman hates. She will never admit there has been an innocent man executed, and likely thinks those that have gotten off TX Death row are still guilty. She sure thought Rodriguez was. She said some off the wall comment about this man … but she has made same many about different people it is hard to recall.

Mr. Rodriguez had an alibi: he was working at a factory that made bed frames at the time of the rape, and his boss swore to that in court.

So it was Mr. Bolding who provided the crucial testimony against Mr. Rodriguez. He said Mr. Yanez’s blood type categorically excluded him as a possible rapist.

“Is he a possible donor of the semen?” a prosecutor, Bill Hawkins, asked at the trial, referring to Mr. Yanez. “No, sir,” Mr. Bolding responded, “he is not.”

In his opening and closing statements, Mr. Hawkins hammered this point home. “Scientific evidence really nails this man to the wall,” he said of Mr. Rodriguez. It “shows beyond a doubt that Isidro Yanez could not have committed the offense.”

Yet recent court-ordered DNA testing shows that Mr. Yanez’s DNA profile matches a pubic hair recovered at the crime scene.

Mr. Hawkins did not respond to a message seeking comment. Nor did Jack Roady, the prosecutor who has been supervising the retesting in the Rodriguez case, or Chuck Rosenthal, the Harris County district attorney. Through a prison spokeswoman, Mr. Yanez, who is serving time for kidnapping, declined a request for an interview. *9

Charles: They declined request for an interview. Hell, my appeal prosecutor Lynn Hardaway said ‘she doesn’t know about the DNA, and just because my DNA isn’t there doesn’t mean I didn’t do it’ … I don’t even know what to say about that, but she has managed to convince the courts that it ‘might be, could be’ one of the grandsons friends …..that is how she accounts for the DNA, just a speculation. I really wish she would ask those friends to take a test. She has the power to do so. I want to put her theory to test.

Mr. Bolding’s misstatement was fundamental and egregious, the experts’ report said.

“There is absolutely no scientific basis for Bolding’s testimony that Isidro Yanez could not have been the donor of the semen samples,” the scientists wrote.

Dr. Johnson, the former DNA laboratory director, agreed. “That’s kindergarten stuff,” she said. *10

Charles: Dr. Johnson, she said this is ‘kindergarten stuff’ … that is a mouthful! She would know. These people aren’t stupid folks, they know how to reed these result’s and they damn well know they are lying on the stand because they can, and are helping with convictions. They feel, ‘well if the cops got him in cuffs sitting in jail, wanting us to test him, then if they think he is guilty, than he will be guilty.’ These people should have no contact with the police whatsoever they are NOT police, but many of them feel that they are, or are part of that team. HelI, l’m sure many are friends. But they should have no knowledge or information about a suspect other than they need to do the requested testing. In many cases, as with me, they know a person confessed. Refused to talk, witness, saw him, etc. Things they should know they do. But as with me? Chu found this blood, but intentionally ignored doing the request for DNA testing. All he did was blood typing. That isn’t the same as DNA testing. DNA testing would had helped a lot.

Mr. Bolding, speaking generally, said his conclusion was scientifically defensible. “You can have as many experts as you want,” he said.

Mr. Rodriguez, now 43, said his 17 years behind bars had ruined his life and torn his family apart. He has four daughters and a son, though he has not seen anyone in his family for many years. “My mom came to visit me a couple of times,” he said in a telephone interview. “I’d say about four or five times since I been locked up. Of course, that was back in the early 90’s.” Now, though, he said, he is growing optimistic. “It feels good to me to know what’s going on and to prove my innocence,” he said.

Mr. Bolding retired in 2003 after police investigators recommended that he be terminated for various professional and supervisory failures, including submitting false information to auditors in 2000 and 2001.

Last  month, a judge in Midland, Tex., dismissed perjury charges against Mr. Bolding, saying the statute of limitations had expired. In that case, Mr. Bolding was accused of overstating his academic credentials in a 2002 sexual assault trial. He said a court reporter had transcribed his testimony incorrectly. *11

Charles: This part really gets me, they get away with per jury due to the ‘statute of limitations’ … the status of limitations should not start until final judgement while a cases is pending on appeal. That is how they know they can get away with it. They know many guys will not appeal, they will just do the time and live with It and those that do appeal such as myself, it will be YEARS before it is ever found out that they committed perjury. So the status of limitations saves their asses. But to me, as long as a case is active, the status of limitations should not be enacted until final judgement.

I would like to see law makers pass a bill making this a reality. Then and only then will this false testimony to help with convictions stop. Until then, they all know they have a free pass. I know they passed a law making it to where you can sue the DA now, or something, I forget just what, if they will do something regarding the DA’s, then they should do the same for these ‘experts’ who knowingly lie on the stand. I have zero doubt that Chu knows he lied. He knew my blood type, he knew the results weren’t inconclusive. And that is perjury … but he is safe. He never has to worry about being fined or put in jail for perjury. Look at the way this chump Mr. Bolding is explaining it  ‘the court reporter transcribe his testimony incorrectly’ …. that is just too damn funny to even laugh at.