The recent firing of a Cuyahoga County medical examiner has many in the
criminal justice community concerned about hundreds of thousands of cases
processed in a Cleveland crime lab.
Speaking with Cleveland.com, Attorney Ian Friedman called the discovery "extremely troubling."
Gagandeep Sran was terminated earlier this year when it was discovered
that a sample he had cleared for narcotics actually contained crack cocaine.
It was then found that Sran was not properly following lab procedures
while testing other samples, calling into question his work on evidence
in thousands of criminal cases.
Attorney Friedman emphatically reiterated the importance of scientific
samples in our criminal justice system, saying that they carry great weight
with juries and that errors could cause false results and unjust trial
outcomes. "With people's lives at stake, prosecutors and defense
lawyers will have the daunting task of revisiting all the cases that may
have been tested by (Sran)," he told Cleveland.com.
Uncertainties Still Remain
Judge John J. Russo, who presided over Sran's disciplinary hearing
last month, issued a statement through a spokesman today stating that
he could not predict if a reevaluation of Sran's work would actually
affect any criminal cases. Another spokesperson for the medical examiner's
office told the press that the discovery "doesn't look like it's
going to affect any criminal cases."
Others, however, are waiting for all the re-testing results to come back.
Of the 673 cases that Sran was responsible for that have already been
re-tested (including non-criminal cases), 27 errors have already been
found by lab personnel.
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