An analyst was fired from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences crime laboratory on Friday after officials found that two marijuana cases were improperly recorded before the evidence was analyzed.
According to a press release from the institute, the analyst was testing plant material for the presence of marijuana. Standard procedure requires chemical analysis and a microscopic exam.
However, the employee recorded a positive result in both cases after only a chemical analysis.
By reviewing high-resolution video of the analyst’s workstation, the lab’s manager discovered the omission of the microscopic exam in the two cases, according to the press release.
The manager subsequently reviewed video of all other drug chemistry analysts and found full compliance with standard procedure.
The two cases analyzed by the unnamed employee were retested and the presence of marijuana, less than 4 ounces, was confirmed in each. The lab will re-process past marijuana cases previously tested by the discharged analyst, according to institute officials.
The institute has notified the Texas Forensic Science Commission and the district attorney’s office of the violation.
“The public expects an extraordinary level of integrity and quality from the Institute,” said Roger Kahn, Ph.D., the institutes crime laboratory director in a statement. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for dishonesty. We acted swiftly to remove the employee and to ensure strict adherence to procedures by our laboratory analysts.”
This is at least the second analyst fired this year. In late January, an analyst was fired for shredding homicide documents.
The unnamed employee