The Scientific Investigation Division (SID) of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) claims it is America’s first crime lab, but in 1994 it was America’s worst crime lab. Unlike most criminal defendants, OJ Simpson had the funds to allow his defense team to investigate every facet of the case against him. An investigation into LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division (SID) by Mr Simpson’s attorneys, notably Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, revealed an ongoing conspiracy of carelessness impacting not only Mr Simpson, but anyone charged with a crime in Los Angeles.
The conspiracy of carelessness was not conducted wittingly, it was a result of a once great crime lab failing to modernize. In the early to mid 1990’s LAPD’s SID failed to properly train criminalists; they didn’t even have a handbook/manual of standardized rules and procedures to be followed in order to maintain the integrity of the evidence they collected.
The techniques used to by criminalists to collect evidence at crime scenes were simply wrong: Blood evidence was stored in plastic bags which would quickly degrade the evidence; in fact every reputable criminology textbook states that one should never use plastic to temporarily store wet blood evidence. LAPD SID criminalists, both in the field and in the lab, did not change gloves between each piece of evidence they collected or handled. The reference blood samples from both the victims and the suspect were handled at the same time and, shockingly, the suspect’s reference sample and crime scene evidence were handled at the same time. The LAPD crime lab was a cesspool of contamination that was ripe for cross contamination.
The 21st episode of OJ Simpson: Fact or Fiction? thoroughly documents the conspiracy of carelessness which plagued LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division during the OJ Simpson case and throughout the 1990’s.
While watching this episode think of the countless defendants who lacked the funds to shine a light on this conspiracy of carelessness in the SID and, as a result, were wrongfully convicted.
The reality of this conspiracy of carelessness, uncovered by Mr Simpson’s defense team, was proven by the fact that immediately following the Simpson trial the Scientific Investigation Division of the Los Angeles Police Department underwent comprehensive reform which specifically addressed every issue which Mr Scheck and Mr Neufeld shined a light on.
The next episode of OJ Simpson: Fact or Fiction? will demonstrate the impact that this conspiracy of carelessness had on the blood evidence from Bundy and the Rockingham glove.
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