- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2016

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. (AP) - The New Jersey attorney general’s office has notified prosecutors that a lab technician failed to properly analyze evidence in a drug case, calling into question more than 7,800 criminal cases he’s worked on over the last decade.

Division of Criminal Justice director Elie Honig wrote in a memo last week that Kamal Shah was observed spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana.

In a memo dated Monday, Passaic County Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon said Shah was basically “observed writing ‘test results’ for suspected marijuana that was never tested.”

“Obviously, all his results have been called into question.”

Shah worked in the drug unit of the state police’s North Regional Laboratory. He was removed from lab work in December, said Peter Aseltine, spokesman for the Office of the Attorney General.

Aseltine said Wednesday that Shah was seen improperly conducting a test in one instance.

Aseltine said they have identified every case that Shah worked on since he started working in the lab’s drug unit in 2005. He said they’ve advised county prosecutors to alert the defense attorneys in those cases.

Fallon said prosecutors are planning to retest specimens from open cases.

“The larger, and unanswered, question is how this impacts already resolved cases, especially those where the specimens may have been destroyed.”

Kevin Walker, an assistant public defender, issued a statement on behalf of the Public Defender’s Office Wednesday saying the office doesn’t have “a practical mechanism” for identifying cases that involved Shah.

Walker said prosecutors will have to review records from the Little Falls lab and cross-reference them with their files.

“Pending that review, we are going to keep all our options on the table, including filing motions to vacate convictions in appropriate cases,” Walker said.

Aseltine said Shah hasn’t been charged. He wouldn’t say whether Shah is under criminal investigation.

Shah was suspended without pay in January. He could not be reached for comment.

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