The scandal-prone prosecution witnesses at San Francisco’s Hall of Justice popped up in conversation today during a discovery hearing in a federal gang murder case.
A year after a federal jury convicted alleged gangbanger Dennis Cyrus (but before he’s been sentenced), his attorneys signed a protective order today in order to get their hands on 3,000-4,000 pages of documents related to the crime lab (free reg. req.). The government says they’ll start turning them over to the attorneys this week, but asked for the protective order because some of the documents are pertinent to SFPD’s ongoing investigation.
U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney asked about any pertinent discovery issues -- including any involving the reported problems with former criminalist Deborah Madden (accused of using drug evidence) and Ann Marie Gordon (a supervisor in the medical examiner’s office who, the Chronicle uncovered, resigned from her former job at the Washington state toxicology lab amid allegations that she fraudulently certified breath tests).
Defense attorney John Philipsborn raised the specter of one more possible evidence problem -- he said the DNA unit of the San Francisco crime lab has also been the subject of an inquiry in a homicide case, where there’s a question of whether DNA samples may have been switched.
“A new potential scandal?” Chesney asked, sounding almost amused.