Wednesday, April 22, 2009

California Drunk Driving defense attorneys report California defense attorneys want to review thousands of suspicious cases

California DUI criminal defense lawyers and California Drunk Driving defense attorneys are told California defense attorneys want to review thousands of criminal cases in three Southern California counties because the lab technician who analyzed blood and urine samples in the cases reportedly acknowledged falsehoods involving testing in a previous job in Denver. California Lawyers are looking at cases and convictions in which Aaron Layton tested samples for the Riverside-based forensic toxicology facility Bio-Tox Laboratories. He worked at the company for about a year and a half until he was fired in February.

Bio-Tox business manager Tracy Stangarone declined to say why he was fired, citing ongoing investigations by district attorneys. Layton worked on about 3,700 cases in Riverside County, as many as 4,800 in San Bernardino County and about 3,000 in San Diego County, according to district attorneys. These cases have been called into question because Layton allegedly acknowledged a slew of shortcomings when he worked at Forensic Laboratories in Denver in the early 2000s.
Attorneys at a February hearing in Riverside County said Layton allegedly admitted lying under oath about conducting lab work and forging signatures on documents while working at Forensic Laboratories, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. Prosecutors had been checking into his background ahead of calling him as an expert witness in a case.

Jeff Slater, a manager at Forensic Laboratories, said Layton joined the company in 2000 as an intern then moved into entry-level role preparing samples for testing. Layton was fired for problems with his "customer service practices" but his lab work was allegedly satisfactory, Slater said.
The facility tests urine for a variety of Colorado agencies, including probation services. Slater said his lab had allegedly not been asked to retest any samples.
Stangarone said her firm had so far retested about 500 blood and urine samples for cases Layton worked on at no cost to the counties. None showed inconsistencies with the original results and no cases in the three counties have been tossed out over Layton's testing, she allegedly said.

Boxer wants a different lab to test the samples and has asked district attorney's officials to provide a full list of all cases Layton worked on. However, San Bernardino Deputy District Attorney Dennis Christy said he provided details to defense attorneys about six cases in which Layton testified as an expert and case law did not compel him to provide more than that.
Cases Layton tested samples for would have ranged from driving while under the influence and vehicular manslaughter up to murder, Riverside County district attorney's spokesman John Hall said.
Defense attorneys in Southern California said they are unsure how long it would take to work through the process of retesting. So far, all retests have been allegedly carried out by Bio-Tox.

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