Biden: Delaware Must Replace Medical Examiner’s Office With Modern Crime Lab

Date Posted: Thursday, April 24th, 2014
Categories:  Criminal Department of Justice DOJ Press Releases

Wilmington – The recent problems revealed with drug evidence in the State Medical Examiner’s Office make clear that Delaware needs to build its own, state-of-the-art crime laboratory, Attorney General Beau Biden said today.

Biden’s office launched a criminal investigation, which is still ongoing, into the Medical Examiner’s Office after police and prosecutors uncovered problems with drug evidence that had been sent for testing. The recent problems with evidence testing and the resulting delays and costs to the criminal justice system show the need for a new crime laboratory and have drawn public attention to challenges that police and prosecutors and Delaware have long faced.

“Delaware must have its own independent, state-of-the-art crime laboratory.  A new crime lab is the right thing to do for Delaware’s criminal justice system and the right thing to do for taxpayers,” said Biden, Delaware’s top law enforcement officer.

“For too long, police and prosecutors have had to overcome the challenges posed by the current scenario that forces us to send different evidence to separate laboratories in Delaware, and in many cases, to private laboratories out of state because the Delaware facilities lack either the capability or the capacity. As a result, investigations and prosecutions can be significantly delayed, compromising, at times, the orderly administration of justice.”

“Forensic evidence is incredibly important to the effort to build successful prosecutions in complex cases against the worst criminal offenders.  A new, state-of-the-art crime lab will make Delaware’s criminal justice system more effective and efficient. It will help police and prosecutors arrest and convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent, and it will save taxpayers money in the long term.  Delaware cannot afford to wait any longer.”

Biden added that senior prosecutors from his office have already visited the Maryland crime lab, which can serve as a model for what should be built in Delaware.  Biden’s office will convene a group of stakeholders from the executive and legislative branches, state and local law enforcement, the scientific community and national experts this summer to begin the planning process for a new facility.

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