Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lazy lab tech may have botched thousands of drug cases

From the NY Post:

A technician in the NYPD's forensics lab has been suspended for allegedly falsifying drug-test results, throwing into question "maybe thousands" of criminal cases -- and prompting a panicked meeting yesterday between cops and the city district attorneys.

A Bronx drug trial was even abruptly halted last week because the longtime lab technician, Mariem Megalla, was supposed to testify in that case, sources told The Post.

The NYPD last week sent out an emergency e-mail to the city's five DAs warning them about the evidence disaster and telling them to examine pending felony case files for evidence tested by her. In all such cases, the NYPD wrote, the evidence will need to be retested to make sure the results are accurate.

Police brass also huddled with DA reps yesterday to discuss how to handle the problem.

"It could potentially be hundreds and maybe thousands of cases that need to be looked at because of how long she's been in the department," a source said, citing pending and closed cases.

Megalla, 57, is accused in one case of falsely labeling a sample of suspected drugs as positive for cocaine after it actually tested negative -- because she allegedly didn't want to walk to another part of the building and fill out paperwork to have it tested further, the sources said.

Both alleged incidents were uncovered by NYPD quality-control staffers after Megalla performed the initial tests in late April in the department's drug lab in Jamaica, Queens.

The lab has been plagued by testing scandals in recent years.

The 24-year civilian NYPD veteran now faces probes by the department and the Queens District Attorney's Office.

Megalla was suspended without pay Friday, the day she was to testify in the Bronx drug trial.


420 said...

Pot luck!

Anonymous said...

So someone can be sitting in jail because of her. Meanwhile thousands of people will have retrials at huge expense and possibly damages against the city too.

georgetheatheist said...

"Yada-yada, Warden! Lemme outta here!!"

ew-3 said...

so where was the quality control?
her management is also to blame.
perhaps she would like to finish the sentences of the people that she is responsible for being in jail without cause.

Anonymous said...

She should be fired for being lazy and incompetent and she should'nt get her pension. This woman needs to get a paper route. Let's see if she can handle that.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but will she ever lose her job and pension? Don't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

Who knows if this is one bad apple, or if she's the only one who's been caught?

Did she get lazy recently or did this commence when she started?

Have a sample of every lab tech's work checked.

Anonymous said...

No quality control. No Accountability. Yep, sounds like business as usual in NYC. Disgraceful. She should have been fired immediately and so should her supervisor for not keeping tabs on her and others.

Anonymous said...

Maspeth Mom says....

Even if one person spent one needless day is prison becuase of the useless creep - she herself should go to jail. Be fired immediatley and lose her pension. This Dept. needs to be set straight. What a heartless human.

Anonymous said...

Where is the proof of this being common or usual practice? Think before you make ignorant comments. Jerk off.