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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Police Department has suspended all firearms investigations conducted by its crime lab and ordered it to undergo an independent audit.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy also has ordered an audit of all of her office’s files that resulted in a trial or a guilty plea that relied upon the crime lab’s findings.
Worthy says a defense attorney notified her two weeks ago about “significant discrepancies” in firearm evidence reviewed by the crime lab in two homicide cases and several other cases.
She says that in one case, the crime lab concluded that more than 40 fired bullet casings came from a single weapon but subsequent tests showed they came from at least two different guns.
FROM DETROIT POLICE
Approximately two weeks ago a defense attorney brought information to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy that uncovered significant discrepancies in firearm evidence reviewed by the Detroit Police Department Crime Laboratory in two homicide cases and several other cases.
In one homicide case the defense attorney hired an independent expert to examine evidence that was reviewed by DPD firearms examiners that concluded the fired casings came from a single weapon. The defense expert concluded that there were 24 fired casings from one weapon, 17 fired casings from another weapon, and 1 piece of fired evidence that could not be identified.
Prosecutor Worthy immediately sent the evidence for evaluation by an independent expert. Late in the day on April 23,2008 the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office received information from the independent laboratory that confirmed that the findings of the defense expert. Prosecutor Worthy then informed Chief Ella Bully Cummings of this problem.
On Thursday, April 24, 2008 Prosecutor Worthy instructed her staff to conduct an audit of all Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office files that resulted in a trial, or a guilty plea which relied upon findings from DPD firearm examiners. The audit will go back for one year. All and the defense attorneys on these files will be contacted and after consultation any fired evidence in question will be submitted for re-examination.
The Detroit Police Department has suspended operations of the Firearm Section and has ordered and independent audit.
“This a serious matter, but extremely necessary to protect the intergrity of our convictions, past, present and future,” said Prosecutor Worthy. We will also be re-evaluating any firearms evidence in our upcoming trials.
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