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What is the Indiana Department of Toxicology hiding???

Until the Summer of 2011, the Indiana Department of Toxicology was overseen by Indiana University. According to its website the Indiana Department of Toxicology "was "[e]stablished in 1957 within the Indiana University School of Medicine, the Indiana State Department of Toxicology provides science-based support for the impaired and dangerous driving program and other criminal justice efforts for the State of Indiana . The Department of Toxicology inspects and certifies all evidentiary breath test instruments in the state and certifies every breath test operator in Indiana . The Department also conducts drug and alcohol screening and confirmatory tests for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in criminal and other cases."

The Department of Toxicology has come under fire in recent years for sloppy work and errors in it's testing. The Indianapolis Star even obtained three (3) separate reports from the Indiana University School of Medicine showing that an independent laboratory confirmed the sloppy work and unacceptable levels of testing errors. These tests are used to help police and prosecutors evaluate evidence in criminal investigations, such as, Drunk Driving (DUI/OWI), Drug Possession and Drug Dealing.

Recently, thisarticle in the Indianapolis Star, indicates that the State of Indiana is now refusing to disclose the results of recent re-testing of blood samples. These approximately 500 samples originally tested positive for marijuana or cocaine and were from cases originating between 2007 and 2009. No reason was given by the Department of Toxicology's attorney for refusing to release the results of this retesting. These results have been know to the State since mid-December 2011 and have only been shared with prosecutors.

Denying to release the results goes against the recommendation of Governor Daniels' toxicology advisory counsel. The panel said " the results of the retesting . . . should be conveyed to the prosecutors, defense and public in understandable language."

These results could potentially overturn wrongful convictions. The results MUST be disclosed, at a minimum, to the attorneys who handled the individual cases at the trial level. By not disclosing the results, the implication is clear....there are significant errors in the testing. If there were no problems with the re-testing, the Department of Toxicology would surely be releasing the information.

There are likely innocent people sitting in prison, on alternative sentences (like home detention or work release), or on probation, that could be released if only the Department of Toxicology would release this information.

Gregory A. Miller is a Fort Wayne Criminal Defense Lawyer and he can be reached at (260) 833-7249.