Further, reported Hassan, "The commission's investigation also found professional negligence on the part of the crime laboratory, they stated during a Friday meeting. Their investigation was launched after an analyst in the case submitted a complaint."
The analyst who made the error "was taken off case work duties for three months, during which time she underwent extensive training." However, "Whether any disciplinary action was taken against the police officer who initially mislabeled the evidence is not known." The story concluded with Daniel Garner, head of the new, civilian Houston forensic center which took over the crime lab last April, accepting responsibility for cleaning up the SNAFU.
Both the commission and the inspector general recommended changes at the lab to avoid further errors. Garner noted that most of the changes have been made and the center has taken several steps to ensure that such errors do not occur again. Those steps include implementing a written policy that evidence submitted with incorrect information will not be analyzed until all the data has been corrected, enhancing training to staff and increasing their quality insurance staff.
Garner said he also is talking with HPD officials about changes to improve submission of evidence.
The bulk of the errors pointed out in both investigations occurred while the police department still operated the crime lab, but Garner said he is willing to take on the responsibility for the incident.
"We were set up to take over the forensic operations and improve upon it, make them more robust and improve the quality," he said. "To me the idea of ducking something before my watch, that's a non-starter. We are just going to move forward from that."