Here's a good reminder from Jon Katz and his blog.
jaded by some of the more cockamamie-sounding urgings from clients,
including the absence of fingerprints when ten witnesses and five
videocameras caught the double-killing, and the shooting defendant was
then tackled and held until the arrival of the police.
must nevertheless give their clients the benefit of the doubt. Here is
a case in point. A colleague told of a client threatened with a
probation or pretrial release violation for submitting a urine test
that came back positive for cocaine from a drug lab. The client
insisted that he had never taken any illegal drugs, and urged his
lawyer to have the DNA in the urine tested for contamination.
enough, two different people's DNA was found in the urine that came
back with a cocaine positive for the defendant. The lawyer said that
someone at the lab even admitted to other similar contamination
Interestingly I've had this situation with the Army drug lab at Fort Meade. My female client insisted she didn't do cocaine and the sample couldn't be hers. The Army wouldn't pay for it so she paid for her own DNA test. Guess what. NO, repeat no female DNA was found in the sample, only male. Interestingly the government still went forward. Their argument, contrary to that in hundreds of other service member prosecutions, was that the sample must have been contaminated with male DNA once it got to the lab and the absence of female DNA was meaningless. Add this to other problems with the military drug labs and their staff over the years and you can understand why there is, or ought to be, continuing cynicism.