The Indiana Toxicology Lab, under the direction of Indiana University is getting some bad publicity lately. Amid questions of the labs effectiveness and an announcement of a review, the Chief of the program resigned this week. According to this review from the Indianapolis Star, the lab has received numerous complaints over the last few years.
Dismissed criminal cases and increased costs to taxpayers are two of the reasons for the recently announced review. Although there are no details on why several OWI cases have been dismissed, there is indication that the lab is directly responsible.
Blood tests from OWI arrests are typically sent to the state toxicology lab, though some are opting to use outside labs. According to this article, the lab receives about $2.4 million per year in exchange for providing lab results to law enforcement around the state for no added cost. However, when the police elect to go elsewhere with their blood tests, taxpayers foot an additional bill.
Among the potential problems are a lack of evaluation of lab employees, lack of equipment testing, and no oversight on the lab. It is highly unusual for a state University to run the crime lab and this may be part of the problem with no oversight.
The review, now taking place, will address the recent complaints and look in to possible solutions.
Evidence sent to a toxicology lab is very important. Anytime there is physical evidence in the investigation of a criminal case, the integrity of that evidence must remain intact no matter where the evidence travels and who is handling it.
The use of clotted blood, improper record keeping, or poorly calibrated machinery all have the potential to nullify the validity of evidence. The integrity of this evidence is just one thing that a defense attorney should look at when evaluating your case.