Head of SF Crime Lab Failed DNA Competency Test

Tony Webster/Flickr
Tony Webster/Flickr

A San Francisco police crime lab technician and her supervisor, both of whom were implicated in alleged misconduct that could jeopardize over a thousand criminal cases, had reportedly failed a DNA proficiency exam last year, which barred them from processing evidence.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Police Chief Greg Suhr said that authorities were analyzing 1,400 criminal cases that were partly prosecuted based on DNA work done by the technician, Mignon Dunbar, 31, and her supervisor, Cherisse Boland, 40. The investigation arrives on the heels of a regular five-year audit of the SF lab.

Dunbar and Boland were reportedly reassigned from the DNA unit in September after they failed to pass a state proficiency test in DNA analysis. One of the questions on the test asked for a proper analysis of a DNA sample and the women had come back with “inconclusive” findings. They were reportedly the only test takers in the state to get the answer wrong.

This is the latest embarrassment for the crime lab, following the 2010 theft of cocaine evidence by a drug-tester which ultimately led to the dismissal of 1,700 criminal cases on which the tester had worked, the Chronicle notes.

Deputy Public Defender Chris Schenone called the crime lab’s conduct “disturbing… They had gotten into trouble back in 2010 and 2011 and they still weren’t following the rules.”

The original San Francisco Chronicle article can be found here.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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