Why could the San Francisco crime lab operate with so many problems for such a long time ? One reason: There’s little or no effective state oversight or regulation of local crime labs in California.
That seems like a glaring problem -- crime labs can mean the difference between guilt and innocent, the difference between a long prison term and a free life, between an innocent party getting wrongly convicted and a guilty party getting away with murder.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano told me he’s worried that problems in cities and counties are going to continue unless somebody’s paying attention -- so he’s introducing a bill that would create some form of state oversight body to monitor crime labs and make sure they maintain credible standards.
“I think it’s like the BART Police , they aren’t going to reform unless the state tells them they have to,” Ammiano said. He’s going to have legislation drafted shortly.