Rice, Mangano Announce Closure Of Nassau County Crime Lab

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and County Executive Edward Mangano announced Friday that the entire Nassau County crime lab has been shut down during an investigation into a series of errors.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Rice dropped the bombshell on Friday, reports CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“Upon my request, the county executive has ordered the immediate closure of the remaining sections of the crime lab,” Rice said.

The total shuttering of the lab came just after its former director testified that his supervisors knew months — if not years — ago about inaccuracies with the lab’s testing of drugs and apparently failed to act.

“I think it’s too early to use words such as a cover-up,” Rice said.

“You have to investigate who knew, when they knew, whether testing continued,” Mangano added.

They said police officials apparently knew examiners were producing inaccurate measurements in drug cases before December, when a national accreditation agency placed the lab on probation for a second time, citing shoddy work and cutting corners. Violations in the testing of drugs Ketamine and ecstasy may have meant some defendants faced stiffer charges than they should have.

“You look at the faces of the county executive and district attorney and that tells you it’s a complete and total nightmare for them,” said Marc Gann, president of the Nassau County Bar Association.

The lab’s lapses are calling into question evidence used to prosecute defendants in past and current criminal cases. At least 16 motions have been filed seeking to dismiss or overturn convictions.

The first of as many as 9,000 potential defendants is seeking to have her guilty verdict overturned because of problems with the lab.

Erin Marino, 30, a teacher from Hicksville, is the first defendant demanding a guilty verdict be set aside — due to violations uncovered within the lab.

She was convicted in August 2010 of aggravated vehicular assault.

“They’ve admitted that they’ve messed up the way they took the test and the law is clear when you don’t calibrate. When you don’t maintain, the evidence doesn’t come in,” defense attorney Brian Griffin said.

Taxpayers also wonder if jail doors will be thrown open.

“Get the right people who are covering this up in jail, and the people who are in jail for no reason, out,” said Sal Alvarado of Mineola.

“Let’s get to the root of what these problems were and what can be done to correct them,” added Pat Novak of Garden City.

Rice said drug testing was compromised, but that there was no evidence of wrongdoing in blood, fingerprints and ballistics.

Until confidence and credibility are restored the crime lab testing will be outsourced. The county said it plans to build a new, state-of-the-art crime lab facility in New Cassel at Nassau’s Public Safety Center — and hire experts from the private sector to help run it.

On Thursday, it was revealed calibrating machines to test blood-alcohol levels hadn’t been checked in three years. The former head of the lab was subpoenaed, along with the current lab director and its forensic scientist.

Should those convicted following tests done at the lab have their convictions overturned? Comment Below

More from Sophia Hall
Comments

One Comment

  1. In need of help says:

    ARE FEDERAL CASES BEING OVERTURNED AS WELL? THE FEDERAL GOVERMENT USED THE NASSAU COUNTY CRIME LAB AS WELL. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR LEGAL AID ATTORNEY INFORMS YOU THAT SOME OF THE ILLLEGAL SUBSTANCES WENT TO THE NASSAU COUNTY CRIME LAB, BUT DOES NOTHING TO HELP THEIR CLIENT CASE TO GET OVERTURNED. IN NEED OF HELP. THANK YOU.

  2. abused citizen says:

    I wonder how much RICE knew about this prior?? It’s just like her to know about it so the cases are stacked in her favor. Don’t you think she had prior knowledge?? Sounds like crooklyn all over again. I hope the AG is subpoenaing all emails to see just who was in it and for how long

  3. BILL says:

    I TOTALLY DESPISE NASSAU COPS-GROSSLY OVERPAID AND USELESS.

  4. De-throne these fools! says:

    It’s time for a revolution in Nassau ala Egypt!

  5. Very Angry says:

    Blood showed a .07 I mean .17……………………Ah……..whatever. Does it really matter. The guy is from Hempstead. Guilty.

  6. Joan says:

    This will cost 100’s of millions of dollars.

    The machines havent been checked in the lab for over 3 years.
    Every other lab in the nation gets them calibrated every year!!!

  7. Frank G says:

    Erin Marino who slammed her car into a family of 4 , failed a field sobroroty test, and blew more than twice the legal limit after a night of drinking, will be back in the classroom thanks to the scuzz at Nassau Police Department. Along with 9000 other criminals.

    Way to go Nassau P.D.

    We need new brass!!!

    Get rid of them!!!

    Incompetent!!!

  8. I want names! says:

    Who oversaw the lab? Are they to be charged with criminality in this fiasco? How much will this cost Nassau to fix (retrials, etc.)?
    Unbelievable incompetence from the top on down.

  9. Judge Rheingold says:

    Marino’s verdict must be overturned. If the evidence was potentially tainted, she MUST be given the benefit of the doubt. I hope her attorney fights hard for this!!

  10. Raymond Velazquez says:

    I was a NYPD officer, when to the PD in Nassau because of the better pay. Now the county has been taken over by the feds because of the salaries that we nassau workers get. going back to NYC as soon as they take me back, Because no one guarantees I will have a job in the near future.
    Raymond Velazquez
    Sherriff’s office

    1. Stan says:

      I GUESS THE GRASS REALLY ISN’T ANY GREENER!!!!BUT DON”T WORRY, BLOOMBERG WILL PROBABLY LAY YOU OFF IN A YEAR…..

  11. Ernest says:

    NASSAU PD IS A COMPLETE OVERPAID DISASTER THAT TAXPAYERS WILL FLIP THE BILL FOR! OPPS, THERE GOES MY TAXES UP AGAIN!!!
    WRITE MANGANO AND DEMAND A FULL INVESTIGATION. I AM.

    BY THE WAY, ALL ARRESTS IN THE PAST 2 YEARS THAT HAD EVIDENCED IN THE CRIME LAB WILL BE SET FREE.

    KATHLEEN RICE NEEDS TO STEP DOWN!!! AND TO THINK SHE WAS RUNNING FOR STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL WHICH SHE LOST BADLY.

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