Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dallas Evidence Warehouse Sort of Falling Apart

I can't put my finger on it, exactly, but something about this article in the Dallas Morning News about the Dallas Police Department evidence warehouse being in such bad shape does not make me feel good. I don't know if it's the tone of the article or the picture of the woman in charge of the place sort of smirking as she leans up against a stack of boxes of evidence or something else. It could also be the casual way they mention that the DNA evidence in a rape case that was destroyed when the air conditioning went out turned out not to make a difference in the case without explaining how, exactly, that is. But, it just seems like it's almost a lighthearted article about the fact that evidence in thousands of felony cases--including murders and rapes--could all be destroyed with one big rainstorm or if someone accidentally throws an incompletely extinguished cigarette in the general vicinity of the building. Oops. Gosh darn it, there goes all that evidence--what do we do now? Am I reading it wrong? Is it just the weird mood I'm in this morning?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A note on interesting evidence warehouse policies:

While recently working on an innocence case as a law clerk, I went to a courthouse (deep south) to go through the evidence from a case. A courthouse administrator went over to the court's warehouse to get the box of evidence from trial, and when he returned, was dripping wet. Off the bat, I realize that they do not bother with air-conditioning the evidence.

What was most disturbing about the whole situation is that he brought the box into a room inside the courthouse, set it down, and told me to come get him when I was finished. My ID was not checked during this process. As I start to go through the box, I come across both guns that were in evidence. What completely threw me, though, was that immediately under them was a total of about 35 live rounds for the two guns. I sat there and realized: they have no idea who I am, and they put me deep into the courthouse and gave me two guns and a significant amount of ammunition. Wow. Something about that just did not feel very comforting.

8/17/2006 6:35 AM  

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