sfpd_cityhall.jpgWhat’s the latest news on the SFPD crime lab that allegedly mishandled evidence, causing over a hundred (and counting) drug cases to be dropped by the DA’s office and inspiring an SFPD personnel reorg? The SF Examiner’s been on the case, digging up info on some other evidence issues plaguing the lab, as well as details on the “criminal past” of lab tech and alleged coke-swiper Deborah Madden.

Let’s start with the criminal past thing: in 2008, a San Mateo jury convicted Madden of domestic violence and vandalism “after she tossed a silver VTech cordless phone at her partner of 17 years from about 8 feet away.” Not to make jokes about the very serious issue of domestic violence, but I love that they specify that it was a VTech that Madden threw at her girlfriend. You can’t BUY that kind of advertising (but you’re encouraged to try).

Here’s the thing: legally, the SFPD should have disclosed the arrest to prosecutors and defenders, but they didn’t. Because of this, the Public Defender’s office is preparing to get every case in which Madden testified dismissed, saying that her “criminal past” should disqualify her from testimony. So there’s that.

The Examiner is also reporting that at least two tainted DNA samples have been discovered at the lab, saying that “it was revealed that the control sample for two DNA samples contained the DNA of the lab technicians themselves.”

Please stop making jokes abut lab employees having sex with petri dishes! This is serious!

the author

Eve Batey is the editor and publisher of the San Francisco Appeal. She used to be the San Francisco Chronicle's Deputy Managing Editor for Online, and started at the Chronicle as their blogging and interactive editor. Before that, she was a co-founding writer and the lead editor of SFist. She's been in the city since 1997, presently living in the Outer Sunset with her husband, cat, and dog. You can reach Eve at eve@sfappeal.com.

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