sfpd_cityhall.jpgThe SFPD crime lab scandal that rocked the department has ended with a whimper, not a bang, as the California Attorney General’s office has decided not to prosecute Deborah Madden, a former lab employee who was linked to missing drugs in at least six cases in the latter part of 2009, causing SF prosecutors to drop hundreds of drug cases.

Madden, 60, of San Mateo, admitted to taking cocaine about five times from evidence she was testing at the lab between October and December 2009, but she insisted she only removed small amounts that spilled during the process. She went on leave from the department in December and officially retired March 1.

SFPD’s investigation into the incident concluded in June, but it apparently wasn’t enough for the AG’s office, as they ABC7 reports they felt there was not enough evidence to prosecute the former lab tech.

“After an exhaustive evaluation, our lawyers determined that no additional charges would be filed,” said Christine Gasparak, spokesperson for Attorney General Jerry Brown told CBS5.

SFPD chief Gascon disagrees, telling ABC7 “we’re very disappointed” and that “Miss Madden was certainly… she committed the acts that were being alleged.”

Madden’s attorney, Paul Demeester agrees, saying that “She admitted to five times having used residue,” but that she is “very happy” to hear she won’t be facing charges in this case.

The AG’s decision was actually made almost a month ago, but was just made public Thursday. Why the secrecy? ABC7 asked just that, and was told that the AG’s “duty was only to notify the district attorney’s office because that is the agency that requested this outside investigation.”

Madden’s not completely off the hook, however, as she’s still facing unrelated charges for cocaine possession in San Mateo County.

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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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