The grand jury decisions asked that the Crime Lab’s staff appear before it to explain the process involved so that efficiencies could be recommended and delays minimized in the future. Such a meeting will likely take place over the next six months.
The Crime Lab had set a goal of a 30-day turnaround on processing evidence after a Joint Legislative Committee on Performance Evaluation and Expenditure Review of the Crime Lab’s work occurred back in 2004. The grand jury’s report indicates there have been continued problems with delays by the lab and the questioning is meant to get to the bottom of those troubles.
The reason the issue is of such importance is that indictments can be dismissed if Crime Lab analysis is not turned over in a timely manner. This is because the U.S. Constitution and state law guarantees the defendant a right to a speedy trial. Prosecutors are worried about the problems that could happen if important cases had to be dropped all because evidence was not produced quickly enough.
The grand jury also noted “considerable differences” in how the area’s law enforcement agencies prepare and present cases, but the report did not elaborate further on what if any action will be taken to remedy the problem. None of the members of the grand jury clarified the issue given that the proceedings are sealed and cannot be discussed.
Such discrepancies and delays are exactly why it’s so important to have an experienced defense attorney on your side if you’re facing charges. If you’ve been involved in something that requires the skill of an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer, please contact us today.
Source: “Harrison County grand jury wants state Crime Lab to explain delay,” by Robin Fizgerald, published at SunHerald.com.