BEND, OR -- While the Deschutes County District Attorney continues to review cases involving a crime lab analyst who plead guilty this week to stealing drugs from the OSP lab in Bend, a state organization wants to make sure incidents like the Nika Larsen case don't happen again.
Bobbin Singh is the Executive Director for the Oregon Justice Resource Center, which runs the state's Innocence Project. He tells KBND News, "What we want to see is just greater transparency and accountability from the crime lab. So, we've been recommending that we create a commission, an independent oversight body that oversees the practice of forensics of the crime lab here in Oregon. That way, there's some outside entity sort of keeping an eye on the crime lab."
Singh says the Larsen case in Bend isn't the only misconduct discovered at labs across the state. "It's already cost the state and counties - I'm not sure how much - but it's cost them a lot in both manpower and resources, money. The better checks and balances we can put in place from the outset, from the very beginning, and create greater transparency so we know when these things happen and can address them quickly will just save the justice system much more money in the long run."