The Houston Crime Lab faced increased scrutiny last week after a former lab supervisor testified that she quit because she could no longer trust the accuracy of breath test results from some HPD breath testing equipment in DWI cases. (Read the Houston Chronicle story here).
“We could no longer choose between a paycheck and our integrity,” said Amanda Culbertson at the hearing. Culbertson, who along with a another supervisor, Jorge Wong, abruptly left the HPD crime lab recently, said breath testing equipment in the department’s vans was prone to overheat and provide inaccurate readings.
What is truly frightening about this is that it took the departure of two analysts from the Houston Crime Lab before these allegations came to light. It is now up to the District Attorney’s Office to conduct a thorough investigation to determine how many Houston and Harris County DWI cases have been affected by faulty breath testing equipment. There is absolutely no excuse for flawed evidence to be used in court against anyone.