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After two years, D.C.’s troubled crime lab back in business

Two of the D.C. crime lab’s forensic science units have been re-accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board, the Washington Post reports. Officials this week hailed it as a big win for the lab, which lost a key accreditation two years ago, casting cast doubt on the integrity of criminal convictions in the city. Lindsey Appiah, the deputy mayor for public safety, said in an interview that the accreditation of the crime lab will help expedite investigations, bring swifter justice, and will again allow D.C. authorities to again enter forensic information into a national database that can help track offenders and solve open cases.

In 2021, an independent panel of forensic experts concluded, among other concerns, that the lab made an error in testing ballistics evidence in two 2015 homicide cases and then refused to acknowledge the mistake. The District lost its ability to use forensic evidence from the lab in court prosecutions — including DNA analyses, firearms and rape kits — and had to contract with private companies to perform these services. Then Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) announced that the city would undertake a sweeping review of criminal convictions dating back a decade, after a report found breakdowns in the lab’s leadership, training and oversight.


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