Written by Masoninblue and reblogged from frederickleatherman.wordpress.com. Do yourself a favor. Don’t read Frog Gravy all at once. In fact, don’t read Frog Gravy at all because it will make you sick.

As I said yesterday in Part 1,

One of the biggest problems we’ve seen in crime labs is people testifying as experts regarding matters beyond their expertise.

This happened in Crane-Station’s case when a lab tech with a bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, KY, who routinely analyzes human blood samples for controlled substances in the Central Lab of the Kentucky State Crime Laboratory using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GCMC), testified as an expert toxicologist regarding the probable effects of Clonazepam on her. He was permitted to do this without objection from her lawyer, even though,

(1) he had not detected Clonazepam, or any other drugs in her blood when he analyzed her sample;

(2) he had no formal training in drug toxicology;

(3) he never had published a peer reviewed article in a professional journal on any subject;

(4) he did not know what constituted a toxic level of Clonazepam in human blood, as opposed to a safe level;

(5) the prosecutor told him that she had admitted taking her prescribed medication when she was arrested, which included Clonazepam, but he had no information regarding what dosage she had taken and when she had taken it.

Nevertheless, he was permitted to express his opinion as an ‘expert’ that she was probably under the influence of and impaired by Clonazepam when the deputy stopped her.

This was a travesty of speculative nonsense and never should have happened.

Now, how is it possible that she could have been under the influence of and impaired by Clonazepam, if he did not detect it in her blood sample?

Well, he testified that it is difficult to detect using gas chromatography and he might have been able to detect it using liquid chromatography, but the Kentucky State Crime Lab cannot afford the equipment to perform that analysis.

Could some other lab have performed the analysis?

Well, as a matter of fact, NMS Labs in Philadelphia can do it and the Kentucky State Crime Laboratory has a contract with NMS to do the test.

Did that happen in Crane’s case?

According to the Director of the Kentucky State Crime Laboratory, the lab sent her blood sample to NMS.

But Ryan Johnson claims that he did not send her blood sample to another lab and the prosecution denies that another lab tested her sample, or that there is an exculpatory lab result from NMS.

However, there is a 2-month gap between the date that Ryan Johnson completed his analysis and the date that it was approved by his supervisor.

Sure looks like he completed his analysis and sent her sample to NMS. They tested it and sent it back reporting an exculpatory result confirming his analysis without generating a written report, so his supervisor reviewed and signed off on his exculpatory result. Then the prosecution turned over his report without mentioning the NMS report.

NMS has referred all inquiries to the prosecutor and, as I said, the prosecutor claims there is no NMS Report or analysis.

This is the kind of bullshit that we are dealing with.

Cross posted from my law blog.

  1. fauxmccoy says:

    oh dear lord, you are so right. do not read frog gravy all at once. i started off intending to do so and have read a lot in 2 days, but it does make one’s head and heart ache. we all have our difficulties and somehow get through them. lord knows i have had mine but your story cranestation is that of utter horror. god bless you both for keeping on and fighting the good fight. i just spent hours telling my husband about this and sent him a link. junk forensics is something he has been yakking my ear off about for months and i never quite realized until now that this could happen to any one of us. i made a vow to never go through kentucky again.

    • Thank you for the comment, yes, the legal case currently sits with the United States Supreme Court as a Petition for Certiorari (all motions, documents, labs, opinions are posted at the site). Of course, anything could happen, but we do not have much hope that the petition will be granted. In that case, I will pursue an ineffective assistance of counsel claim, but again, I expect denial all the way through the Kentucky courts (could be surprised, but doubt it) and a long wait until the case reaches the Federal Sixth Circuit.

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