Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys for a convicted murderer told a U.S. judge today that they may be nearing an agreement on a defense bid for evidence about San Francisco’s crime lab scandal.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and lawyers for former San Francisco gang member Dennis Cyrus told U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney in a joint filing today that they are “in talks to resolve most, if not all” of the post-conviction evidence matters.
At the attorneys’ request, Chesney postponed until June 15 a hearing that was originally scheduled for this afternoon on a defense bid for evidence related to the troubled crime lab.
Cyrus’ attorneys say that evidence about former drug unit technician Deborah Madden, and about her alleged assertion that there was “sloppy work” at the drug unit, might undermine some of Cyrus’ federal convictions and cause them to seek a new trial.
Cryus, 25, a former member of the Page Street drug gang, was convicted by a jury in Chesney’s court last year of 16 federal crimes including racketeering conspiracy, cocaine conspiracy and possession, and three gang-related murders.
Seven technicians from the drug analysis unit of the San Francisco Police Department’s crime lab testified during the four-month trial. One of them was Madden, who is suspected of stealing small amounts of cocaine from the lab.
The drug unit has now been closed and hundreds of state court prosecutions have been dismissed by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office while an investigation continues.
The attorneys will now report back to Chesney at the June 15 hearing on the results of their talks. Cyrus had been scheduled to be sentenced on June 15, but Chesney ordered today that the sentencing be postponed.
Prosecutors sought a rare federal death penalty for Cyrus for the three 2002 murders, but the jury rejected that penalty and opted for a sentence of life in prison without parole.