All forensic laboratories in the state of Minnesota must be accredited. Gov. Mark Dayton signed legislation on Friday that created the mandate. The bill was introduced after drug and evidence testing at the St. Paul Crime Law was suspended in 2012 when two workers and the former director testified at an evidence hearing that the lab had no standard procedures for testing and did not document the steps taken during the test. There was no record of maintenance performed on any of the lab equipment and some of the equipment was found to have drug residue caked on.
Public Defenders Lauri Traub and Christine Funk exposed the problems and spearheaded the investigation. The bill passed the House 115-15 and the Senate 64-0.
“All forensic laboratories in Minnesota should be accredited, and operate with the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability,” said Gov. Dayton in a prepared statement announcing the new law. “Those labs process evidence that help make determinations of guilt or innocence that have enormous effects on people’s lives.”