Houston Crime Lab Set to Resume DNA Testing

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City officials say the DNA division of the Houston Police Department's crime lab is set to reopen. It's been closed for more than three years because of concerns over flawed testing.

The department said yesterday that the DNA facility has been accredited by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors. The accreditation certifies that the lab meets minimum standards and is required by Texas law for labs to process evidence.

A 2002 audit of the DNA division revealed the use of unqualified personnel, inadequate facilities and lax protocols. Inaccuracies were later found in four other lab divisions that test firearms, body fluids and controlled substances.

Reviews of the lab's work led to two men's release from prison, including a man who served 17 years for a rape that new forensic tests show he did not commit. Dozens of cases in which the work of
analysts was inaccurate await adjudication.