Deals Offered in Cases Tainted by Crime LabJul 31, 2012
by Herón Márquez Estrada
Prosecutors in Washington County, Minn., said that they are offering favorable deals to offenders in roughly 160 drug cases that might be tainted because of shoddy work at the St. Paul police crime lab.
"We're going to try and settle as many as we can in a favorable way," said Pete Orput, Washington County attorney. "Those who possess small amounts, we're going to deal with them."
Orput said his office has reached plea bargains on dozens of such cases — nearly all simple possession charges — at a rate that is higher than normal. He said his office has settled about a third of the roughly 160 cases identified as possibly being tainted by the work at the lab.
The office of Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, which also has more than 100 cases pending involving the St. Paul lab, is not yet pursuing such a tactic, but a spokesman said Monday that it's an option.
Source: Star Tribune