Sunday, April 14, 2024

Colorado investigators discovered that a DNA scientist messed with information in hundreds of cases for many years

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A former forensic scientist at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is under investigation for manipulating or leaving out DNA test results in many cases. The agency is reviewing her work from nearly 30 years, and it was revealed that her actions affected 652 cases between 2008 and 2023. A separate criminal investigation is ongoing, and the Colorado Department of Public Safety has requested $7.5 million for a thorough review and retesting of DNA samples in about 3,000 cases.

The internal investigation did not find fabricated data but uncovered that the scientist omitted important information in official records, affecting the integrity of DNA test results. The CBI is also conducting a comprehensive audit of all DNA analysts to ensure accuracy. Another case of potential data manipulation by an analyst at the Northern Colorado Regional Forensic Laboratory was discovered, resulting in their termination.

Yvonne “Missy” Woods’ attorney claims she never created false DNA matches or testified falsely. The CBI is committed to rectifying the breach of trust and conducting a transparent review. The Colorado Department of Public Safety’s request for funds includes $3 million for retesting cases and additional funding for payments to district attorneys’ offices.

Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty revealed that 15 open and 55 closed cases involving Woods as a witness were identified in his office. The impact on victims, the accused, and justice is a cause for concern among prosecutors. The CBI informed the Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s office of 75 potentially affected cases.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of an inmate, James Hunter, alleges that Woods’ faulty analysis led to his wrongful conviction. The lawsuit claims that Hunter was indicted based on fabricated and false evidence, including a hair introduced into the case 10 months after the crime.

Due to the active criminal investigation, some district attorney offices cannot comment on the situation. The CBI emphasizes the importance of public trust and is taking steps to ensure the accuracy of its laboratory results.

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