- Associated Press - Friday, February 10, 2017

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Travis County prosecutors will begin notifying thousands of people convicted of crimes that forensic evidence in their cases may be flawed because of faulty testing at the Austin police crime lab.

The county will notify about 2,200 people convicted of crimes, including people in prison for murder and rape, the Austin American-Statesman (https://atxne.ws/2lsIqbl ) reported. Inmates serving prison terms may be entitled to an appeal.

“This process is specifically intended to identify a situation where an innocent person was wrongly convicted because of DNA evidence,” Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said. “We are looking at a very small population, if any, but that is the point of this process.”

The first batch of letters will be sent to 642 people whose information has been verified by prosecutors and investigators. Officials said they’re working to locate the other remaining defendants.

Recipients of the notices include people who are in prison, have already served prison terms or are on probation, from 2004 to 2016.

“If we have someone who is convicted on DNA evidence that isn’t reliable, and it played a material role in their conviction, our duty is to see that justice is done to correct that,” said Assistant District Attorney Dexter Gilford.

The notices will provide defendants with information of what steps to take to have their case reviewed.

The crime lab was closed in June amid revelations that staff members weren’t using commonly accepted practices for analyzing DNA evidence. The city and county officials are currently discussing whether to reopen the lab or possibly privatize it.

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, https://www.statesman.com


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