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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

CSI Oakland County

Hard to believe that right here in Oakland County, Michigan, there is sufficient crime to sustain a nearly $2 million dollar a year crime lab.  Yet that is what Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard will be announcing this morning in conjunction with his department's request for an expanded crime lab.

Sheriff Bouchard is expected to tout the Oakland County crime lab's accreditation by the American Society of Crime Lab Directors; the first lab in Michigan to achieve such status.  Allocation of the resources for the proposed expansion (up to 3 additional employees and the constantly advancing hi-tech equipment with which they will work) seems like politically rough terrain in these times.

Apparently, the expansion will allow Oakland County to by-pass the lab operated by the Michigan State Police, thereby significantly reducing delays.  The MSP crime lab has been flooded with additional work since the City of Detroit shuttered its crime lab amid claims of mismanagement and abuse; claims that are being investigated by the MSP.

This blogger recently experienced the effects of the MSP lab's processing delays in a felony case in Oakland County.  It took the Oakland County Prosecutor nearly 8-months to confirm blood reports tying my client to a crime scene.

The prosecutor ended up sending the blood-work to a private lab in Virginia.  During the months it took to process the evidence, my client was sent to prison on another unrelated matter from Detroit.  

Although the delay was not the accused's fault, he sat in prison on dead time in my case, willing to plead guilty and get his Oakland County case over with.  This was not possible due to the evidentiary delays.  Not that I am asking you to shed any tears for this hardened skell; but we pay for such delays one way or another.

If an expanded lab lessens delays, expedites justice, and eases the burden on the state lab, that's all good.  It's just a shame that our community sports enough crime to make such an arena possible.

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