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HPD Response to Fifth Report By Independent Investigator

May 11, 2006 -- Houston Police Chief Harold Hurtt and managers in the Houston Police Crime Lab are taking appropriate actions following release of the independent investigator's fifth report on the HPD Crime Laboratory and Property Room.

In the just released report, the independent investigator identified concerns in scientific work performed in 43 DNA and 50 serology cases. Crime Lab managers said the majority of the DNA cases had previously been identified by the Houston Police Department. HPD officials will now begin reviewing the DNA and serology cases in question and will share those files with the Harris County District Attorney's office to help identify what serology evidence was available at the time of trial and what part it played in a conviction. With advances in DNA technology, HPD no longer uses serology ABO blood typing and hasn't since the early 1990s.

Checks and balances were put in place more than two years ago to make sure the Crime Lab had an effective quality control and effective technical review program. All areas of the lab have received accreditation from ASCLD-LAB (American Society of Crime Lab Directors - Laboratory Accreditation Board), with the exception of the DNA section, which hopefully will be accredited this year.

The independent investigator's fifth report addresses concerns over work performed by two former analysts, James Bolding and Christy Kim, and three other analysts who were relieved of duty following findings in the fourth report. Those employees, Raynard Cockrell, Joseph Chu and Mary Childs-Henry, were relieved of duty in December 2005 and IAD investigations into their actions are ongoing, but nearing completion.

"The number one goal in this whole investigative process is to make sure that no innocent people were themselves victimized," said Chief Hurtt. "We realize there were significant problems in the Crime Lab and are taking extraordinary steps toward making this not 'one of the best,' but 'the best' Crime Lab in the country." Chief Hurtt further stated, "As in the previous reports released by the independent investigator, HPD's level of cooperation in this investigation process remains consistent and transparent."

"In each concern raised by the independent investigator, we have taken action," Chief Hurtt concluded. "We very much look forward to the time when the independent investigator provides recommendations to help us achieve the highest standard of excellence."

JFC/IR 5-11-06

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.