FORT WORTH -- A prominent Fort Worth criminal defense attorney is seeking additional information on a county serologist, who was disciplined by the state's top forensic board for professional misconduct but was not prosecuted.The serologist, who resigned in March after a supervisor discovered that he had fabricated test results for two unopened rape kits, may have "committed a crime" in the lab of the medical examiner's office, attorney Mark Daniel said.He "knowingly falsified forensic laboratory results," Daniel said, and could be subject to a third-degree felony, such as making a false entry in a government record.Tarrant County District Attorney Joe Shannon's office said it hasn't pursued an indictment because no one has asked it to."No defense attorney nor anyone else has presented a proposed criminal case to this office," spokeswoman Melody McDonald said. "If that is done, we will be happy to take a look."The Tarrant County medical examiner's office reported the incident to the Texas Forensic Science Commission after the false reports were discovered. The serologist was immediately suspended and soon resigned.It was later discovered that results of several rape kits had been falsified without testing. Such misconduct is called "drylabbing."Several weeks ago, Daniel submitted a request under the Texas Public Information Act to the medical examiner's office for the serologist's disciplinary records and any documents that may have been referred to the district attorney's office. The medical examiner's office has asked the Texas attorney general's office to rule on whether the items can be disclosed to the public.At an Oct. 5 meeting of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, member Arthur Eisenberg, an internationally recognized DNA expert at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, said it appeared the serologist had been "lazy."Earlier, lab officials told the commission that the serologist had made the false tests because he was distracted by personal problems and that it was not the result of intentional misconduct.Daniel took issue with that."I have never known a distraction in one's personal life to cause anyone to falsify a forensic laboratory result," he said.Eisenberg said that Shannon's office "had elected not to file suit," and that what the medical examiner's lab management had been doing was satisfactory.Yamil Berard, 817-390 7705
In an Oct. 5 report of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, Tarrant County crime lab officials outlined new processes to ensure the integrity of the lab's work.
New hires now have to undergo extra training before they begin casework. Once testing starts, results will be subject to independent re-examination with additional monitoring, the report stated.
To view the commission's report, go to www.fsc.state.tx.us/documents/FinalReportTCME101712.pdf