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Audit Of State Toxicology Lab Postponed

Science lab

Photo: JISC (Flickr)

Critics site problems with drug and alcohol test results at the lab

A state official says advisors are planning to send their recommendation to Governor Daniels this week about how and when an audit of the state toxicology lab can proceed. Linda Chezem is chairperson of the advisory board that‘s overseeing the Indiana Toxicology Department‘s move from Indiana University to an independent state agency. Chezem said the state suspended the lab audit because it was becoming too expensive.

“One of the things we learned was the initial audit cost contract was $40,000 and it had exploded to six times that to $250,000,” said Chezem.

She said the suspended audit won‘t hurt the lab‘s chances for accreditation with the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. Meantime, critics site problems with drug and alcohol test results at the lab. Indiana Public Defender Council Executive Director Larry Landis said the audit has already found problems with results. Landis said problems with lab results raise the issue of wrongful convictions. Landis said a $250,000 audit is minor compared to the possibility of wrongful convictions. Chezem said Colorado-based Forensic Consultants was conducting the audit. Landis questioned why the board had the authority to suspend the audit and wants to see it continue.

“What is the authority of this advisory committee to pull the plug on this Audit? They’re an advisory. Where did they get the authority? It’s not by statute,” said Landis.

Chezem said they hope to get their recommendation to the Governor by Friday.

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