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San Bernardino Police Department Targets Impaired Drivers with Checkpoint
The San Bernardino Police Department will be conducting a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint on Friday, April 17, 2009 from 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM in the 2100 block E.
In other DUI news, an Indio judge today ordered Bio-Tox Laboratories to turn over a list of thousands of Riverside County criminal cases handled by a former laboratory technician who admitted falsifying lab results in another state.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Jorge Hernandez issued the ruling during a hearing in a misdemeanor DUI case, in which Aaron Layton conducted the preliminary blood tests on the defendant.
The Riverside County public defender's office has been trying to obtain the list of cases for more than three months, as well as other documents related to Layton's criminal history and work at Bio-Tox.
Layton is no longer employed at Bio-Tox, which contracts with the district attorney's office to conduct blood work in cases involving alcohol and drugs.
The lab technician's credibility came under scrutiny when a background check by the D.A.'s office last December showed he had admitted to falsifying reports in another state and had failed to register as a sex offender in Colorado, according to attorneys in the case.
"Everything he has now touched is now in question," the judge said. The Riverside-based company has until April 30 to compile a list of all re-tested cases and draft a list of all Riverside County criminal cases.
Tracey Stangarone, a business manager for Bio-Tox, told the judge that only Riverside County cases have been re-tested so far.
She said it will be difficult for the company to put together an entire list of cases, but that it would do so.
Bio-Tox was also ordered to hand over the work schedule for Maureen Black, who admitted in court testimony that a stamp with her signature was used without her permission to approve toxicology reports.
Authorities estimate that more than 3,700 Riverside County cases -- both felony and misdemeanor, including family law and other civil matters -- are being reviewed, and around 4,500 San Bernardino County cases may be scrutinized.
Layton also did work on an unknown number of San Diego cases.
A judge ordered the Riverside County district attorney's office last month to notify any defense attorneys whose clients' cases may be affected and to re-test samples.
Deputy Public Defender Laura Garcia also asked today for a list of cases from San Diego and San Bernardino counties, but that request was denied.
"I know you want the world, you are only going to get half of the planet," Hernandez told Garcia.
The judge asked the public defender's office to use the list of criminal cases in Riverside County to determine if there are any "statistical anomalies" in Layton's work.
If the public defender's office shows that Layton's work was inconsistent, the judge said he would consider ordering Bio-Tox to hand over a complete list of criminal cases in the other counties.
Deputy District Attorney Kelli Catlett argued against giving the public defender's office a complete list, saying it has already been notified of "thousands of cases" with initial test results.
Today's ruling only applies to cases within Hernandez's jurisdiction in Indio. The judge said he will "coordinate" with other calendar judges in Riverside and Murrieta in order to standardize how to handle the cases.
The judge also gave Garcia two envelopes containing information about Layton's personnel file, letters between Layton and the district attorney's office and other documents.
Hernandez ruled that whatever documents are handed over to Garcia will be distributed to the entire Riverside County public defender's office.
Layton's credibility began to be questioned after the district attorney's office conducted a routine background check and discovered he had lied about his criminal history.
In a letter dated Feb. 17, District Attorney Rod Pacheco wrote that when Layton applied for a job with the police department in Columbus, Ohio in 2003, he admitted during a polygraph test to falsifying reports "hundreds of times" while working for Forensic Laboratories Inc. in 2001.
Layton said he falsified the reports by failing to confirm test results, as required, according to Pacheco.
Pacheco also claimed that "while employed by Forensic Laboratories, Inc., (Layton) forged his employer's signature and used his notary stamp on documents, including court affidavits involving evidence and procedural results."
Layton's history goes beyond his admission of fraud and forgery, according to Riverside County's top prosecutor. According to the D.A.'s letter, Layton admitted that when he was 17, he molested a 13-year-old boy by fondling him and performing other sexual acts during eight occasions.
Layton was contacted by the Colorado Springs Police Department in February 2007 for failing to register as a sex offender, and was placed on probation until November of this year, according to Pacheco.
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