Orange County Supervisors Order Study of Forensic Lab Oversight


You will remember a posting on this blog about the fact that the District Attorney has been plea bargaining with people accused of crimes to forego a prosecution of these people if they will provide DNA samples for a data base maintained by the DA. Some have questioned this “get out of jail free in return for your DNA” practice of the DA. If nothing else, it shows the absolute power a District Attorney has to decide whether or not to prosecute someone.

Placing crime lab and DNA data base tools in the hands of a law enforcement agency is a practice that some people question. To put it simply, some worry about the objectivity of the lab analysis and DNA matching if an arresting agency, or a prosecution agency, is in charge of the lab too. Might they be tempted to skew the results in order to drive up their “tough on criminals” statistics?

Well, apparently the Board of Supervisors wonders about this too. The Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register have reported that the Supervisors have ordered a review of the current operation of the Orange County forensics lab and its organizational placement. Citing a National Academy of Sciences report that says forensic labs should be independent of law enforcement and prosecution, the Board has decided to take a look. The Supervisors have it right, at least so far.

This is a healthy move for the citizens of Orange County.

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.