Medford, Ore.– Oregon State Police crime labs are swamped with forensic evidence for thousands of cases. That’s according to a recent audit from the Secretary of State, Jeanne Atkin’s office.
Since 2005 the backlog of untested forensic evidence in OSP’s five crime labs across the state has increased 90%, that’s about 37,000 cases. Delays in forensic evidence testing can slow down trials. Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert says her office is occasionally forced to ask the court for more time when evidence isn’t ready.
“We stay in touch with them and let them know what our trial dates are and they try to get the work done before those trial dates,” Heckert explains. “At times we have been more caught up and then at times they will get behind again.”
The audit recommends that new strategies and plans be implemented to improve work flow at forensic lab offices across the state.