The Houston Police Department’s crime lab, beset by problems for years (think untested rape cases, rainwater-soaked evidence, and sloppy forensic work), could be spun off into an independent agency if Houston Mayor Annise Parker gets her way.
KUHF’s Carrie Feibel reported that the arrangement, if it goes forward, would be a local government corporation similar to the independent Port Authority or Houston Parks Board. But the part of the project turning most heads is Parker’s suggestion that one of the seven board members at the helm of the proposed organization would be a representative of the Innocence Project, according to the Houston Chronicle ’s Chris Moran.
“I clearly prefer to have our forensics sciences not under the influence of police, prosecution or politics,” Parker said.
Unsurprisingly, Barry Scheck, the Innocence’s Project’s co-founder, is a fan of the idea. The City Council will vote on the proposal next month.
TEXAS MONTHLY’s Michael Hall detailed some of the problems at the HPD crime lab for a January 2006 story. “There were a lot of reasons for the Houston crime lab disaster, but most had to do with people, not science,” he wrote.