USADA presents at the ACS National Meeting about Doping in Sports

USADA presents at the ACS National Meeting about Doping in Sports   On March 23, 2015, Attorneys Justin J. McShane of The McShane Firm, LLC and Josh D. Lee of Ward, Lee and Coats moderated a symposium at the national American Chemical Society meeting in Denver, Colorado. The symposium concerned the chemistry and the law […]

Traceability… it’s for the dogs!

This adorable little wiry girl is “Sky” – or to be more accurate “GCh AfterAll Painting The Sky.” Americas most prestigious canine club named her the top dog at the 2014 Westminster Kennel Club dog show. Want to know more about Sky’s family tree? Thats easy. We can just hop on the internet and trace her […]

Quality Assurance failures at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Laboratory crisis that concerns blood ethanol content by HS-GC-FID teaches us yet again the critical role that quality assurance (QA) is supposed to play in forensic laboratories. It is part of any quality management system. In all laboratories, the QA officer should be someone who is wholly independent […]

Retention of Biological Samples: In a DUI case, how long is long enough?

Suppose the following: You are driving home. You get stopped by the police. You are arrested for DUI. You are requested and give a sample of your blood. The blood goes to a laboratory and is analyzed. The results get transmitted to the police a few days later. The  police type it up a few […]

The sad story of 12 cents. Why following directions has to matter: The Lebanon County, PA DUI Good Samaritan Hospital Scandal

What does 12 cents buy you these days? Nothing I know of. But in law in Lebanon County, it is the total difference between valid and non-validated testing. It is the literal price of justice. All because good Samaritan Hospital wanted to save 12 cents per test and the local DA did not ask to […]

“But they did a calibration on the machine” Do they really? Calibration versus calibration check

Prosecutor: “The instrument was calibrated.” This phrase is uttered in courtrooms all across the United States many times every day. But is it true? Probably not Calibration is the imperfect act of teaching the machine what response from an unknown yields typically related to a concentration. It should be done using Certified Reference Materials (CRMs […]

Doughnuts and Blood Testing – How the government’s own data often proves that they contaminate blood samples and look the other way

The Colorado Springs Independent recently published an article about laboratory concerns within the Colorado State crime laboratory system. The article written by Chet Hardin was called “Blood and circus: Why many DUI lawyers don’t trust the state’s drug lab.” One of the issues discussed was the problem of ethanol being detected in blanks. The governments position of […]

This only makes sense in the bizzarro world of Texas DPS: No proof, but we prosecute!

One of the tenants of the criminal justice system is that everyone accused is presumed innocent. That means that everyone starts out in the courtroom with a not guilty. It remains a not guilty throughout the trial no matter how many witnesses come forward or what they say. It remains so even in the jury […]

Yet another crime lab scandal – the real question is how many failures until they get caught and when is enough enough?

It seems that every week there is more news coming out of a forensic laboratory of major laboratory failures. This time it is from the state of Massachusetts where a state crime lab has been shut down and 50,000 samples from at least 34,000 different accused citizens are now all in question. Mass. Crime Lab […]

The testing of unknowns-what is confirmatory testing?

When testing unknowns, we are doing precisely that. We will never know the true CONTENTS (in terms if a qualitative measure) of the sample, let alone the true value of the contents (in terms of the quantitative measure). By definition, all testing is about the tester’s willingness to accept the risk of being wrong most […]

Where is the commutability?

Commutability is the hallmark of all measurement science and is particularly important in analytical chemistry at large. Commutability is the feature of being comparable across borders and universal over all time. Using appropriate and traceable standards/reference materials during calibration combined with using validated and standardized methods provides for commutability. Since the mid 1980s, the Environmental […]