Thursday, February 02, 2006

What a Newsman -- NOT

Everyone who listened to the CHATTERism-guy show the ugliness of talk-radio loudmouth David Vincent Jerico (real name Vince Shottenkirk) last night must have been convinced of the reality of crazies on right-wing talk radio, of which Vince is the worst example.

He spounts off this morning about the proposed SGF crime lab.

He is an idiot.

He has obviously never actually talked with Tom Finny, like I have done, and asked him some specifics about this idea.

The ONLY contribution that SGF is making to having the lab is the building itself. That is small stuff, and local banks have offered a very low cost way of financing. The lab itself, and all the capital costs, and the operating costs, will be born by the state and a grant by the feds. Those recurring costs will only be on a fee-for-service basis, open to any agency in SW Missouri.

Will it be expensive -- yes. But the important thing is that scientific forensics is becoming an important part of the legal system. VJD, knowing nothing about what it means, is an asshole for suggesting that it is a "power play" by the city. Labs work both ways, both for the prosecutor and the defendant. They do something that is totally alien to radio talk show hired-hands. They are honest.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kn@ppster said...

John,

After the problems with the FBI crime lab, the failure in Tulia to distinguish gypsum from cocaine, etc., I tend toward skepticism on your last sentence.

If I were the defendant in a criminal case involving forensic evidence, the absolute first motion my attorney would make would be for any relevant materials to be tested at a private lab.

Tom Knapp

4:01 PM, February 02, 2006  
Blogger John Stone said...

Tom ...that's an important point. When I talked with Finney I pointed outthat I can find my way around a lab without a flashlight and I was worried that they might try to do it "on the cheap'. This is going to be an expensive move, I guess that to do it right, as a full-service forensic lab it will take a minimum of $5 million in capital costs to have the equipment that I would trust. In addition, considering the problems that you noted above, they cannot do the usual Springfield thing of hiring the people for the cheapest wage. They will get people like those that gave the FBI lab such a black eye. Finney said they wouldn't do that.... well, I have a wait and see attitude, but I will know the second I see who they hire as the lab director, and give him absolute independance from the lab in Jeff City.

Contract labs are good for some things, but you have to be careful. For instance, the biggest reason that OJ is playing golf today is that lab not only screwed up some of the tests, but then went in to court and "overtestified" about what they found and the meaning of it.

Attorneys are becomming a lot smarter about forensics, and the assumptions and errors in lab tests and are getting better at defense.

6:34 PM, February 02, 2006  

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