San Diego DUI Criminal Defense Lawyers have known for a long time how hard San Diego DUI / Criminal Defense Attorney Mary Prevost fights corruption and law enforcement malfeasance. This time she is asking the San Diego Police Department to investigate a Riverside County laboratory that conducted forensic work on numerous local criminal cases. Mary Frances Prevost wrote a letter to the department last week astutely pointing out the recent critical controversy involving a Mr. Aaron Layton, a former criminalist for Bio-Tox Laboratories Inc. who admitted falsifying reports “hundreds of times” while working for a Denver laboratory.
“Layton’s admissions raise the specter that testing results Bio-Tox supplied to the SDPD were untrustworthy,” San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Mary Prevost diligently wrote. Mike Grubb, the San Diego Police Department’s crime lab manager, regrettably has indicated his department is unlikely to thoroughly investigate because Bio-Tox has already begun retesting many of the samples in question. Grubb maintains the lab has reviewed Layton’s work in more than 1,100 cases, mostly from Riverside County, and that the results were allegedly the same as initially reported. But who really knows?! He claims a small number of San Diego cases – 10 to 20 – have been retested.
According to news reports, the Riverside County Public Defender’s Office obtained a different result on a test in a drunk driving case from what Layton originally reported. However, the case was dismissed for other reasons. On March 31, a letter was sent to San Diego County area criminal defense lawyers stating that local authorities were in the process of identifying all criminal cases in which Layton was involved. The letter is signed by representatives of the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office. Paul Levikow, spokesman for the district attorney, said 2,951 local cases involving Layton were identified, some of which were handled by the City Attorney’s Office.
Bio-Tox specializes in toxicological analyses such as urine and blood screenings, which are significant in a variety of cases ranging from drunken driving to murder. The lab has conducted forensic work on thousands of cases in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Layton, 30, is no longer employed at Bio-Tox. The problem was first identified in December, when Riverside County prosecutors conducted a routine background check on Layton, who was identified as a potential witness in misdemeanor DUI trials. Authorities discovered that Layton had taken a polygraph test in 2003 while applying for a job in Columbus, Ohio. During the examination, he admitted that he falsified reports while working for a lab in Colorado. Specifically, Layton said he conducted drug screenings but did not do the required confirmatory tests. He then indicated on his reports that those tests had been completed, according to the polygraph records. Layton told the polygraph examiner that he had been instructed by his employer not to conduct the tests because they were expensive and took too much time, according to the documents.
Prosecutors also discovered that Layton was required to register as a sex offender until August 2008 for a sexual assault on a child in El Paso County, Colo. The offense occurred when Layton was 17. He was contacted by the Colorado Springs Police Department in February 2007 for failing to register. He is on probation for six more months.
A Riverside County judge ordered Bio-Tox to turn over a list of criminal cases within his jurisdiction that Layton handled. The lab has until Thursday to submit the ordered list.