Board Resolution ~ 05/05/2001

Calling for an Investigation of the Oklahome City Police Department Forensic Laboratory

Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Calling for an Investigation of the Oklahome City Police Department Forensic Laboratory 

Fort Worth, Texas

May 5, 2001

WHEREAS, disclosures of long-term and systematic corruption in the Oklahoma City Police Department Forensic Laboratory have recently come to light, and

WHEREAS, similar incidents of corruption have been uncovered in various law enforcement agencies across the country over the years, including:

  • Trooper Fred Zain, West Virginia State Police and Bexar County, Texas
  • Ralph Erdmann, Texas pathologist
  • DEA Laboratory, Texas, 1997
  • FBI Laboratory, 1997
  • DEA Laboratory, California
  • New York State Police Troop G, 1994

WHEREAS, accurate, reliable and honest forensic science is required to insure that innocent people are not wrongfully convicted in criminal cases,

WHEREAS, integrity in forensic science is critical to public confidence in the criminal justice system;

WHEREAS, only a full and independent investigation of the Oklahoma allegations can free innocent people who may have been wrongfully convicted and restore public confidence in the criminal justice process.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED:

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers calls for a fully funded, independent investigation of the Oklahoma City police department forensic laboratory and the conduct of Joyce Gilchrist as a forensic scientist and her sworn testimony as a prosection witness, and

The investigation should extend to the conduct of other law enforcement and prosection personnel who worked with her, to determine whether they were accessories to her misconduct or violated civil rights of persons against whom false testimony was given, and

Adequate funds should be provided to defense counsel to reevaluate all convictions in which Joyce Gilchrist performed laboratory work or testified. To enable that reevaluation, the NACDL calls for the appointment of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association to act as a centralized clearing house and to represent the indigent and potentially affected persons and demands (requests) that these centralized defense counsel be given access to all relevant files in the possession of law enforcement and prosecution agencies. 

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