A recent account of a rape and murder included defense attorney criticisms of the Baltimore Police Crime Laboratory (”Baltimore teen accused of rape and murder of 83-year-old stands trial four years later,” June 24). The validity of claims of poor-quality DNA analyses will be rightfully argued in court. However, evidence from criminal cases should be submitted anonymously to a laboratory. Names on evidentiary specimens should be encoded to prevent lab workers from identifying cases and people and laboratories performing forensic tests should not be allied with local police investigators.
Accredited, independent forensic labs can provide more objective work at lower cost than governmental labs and are less prone to staffing shortages, personnel freezes and delayed test results. Baltimore should consider outsourcing its crime laboratory.
— Robert E. Wenk, Baltimore
The writer is a retired consultant to clinical, forensic and kinship laboratories.
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