Wednesday, June 16, 2010

DeWine: Vote For Me Because Cordray Hasn't Fixed Betty Montgomery's Crime Lab

Apparently Mike DeWine is going to make an issue of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI), known colloquially as the state crime lab. Here he is talking to the Vindy:

    When asked about Cordray, DeWine said the Democrat has been unable to improve the productivity of the state’s crime lab, which has had problems with a backlog of processing evidence, such as DNA, for criminal cases.

    “Richard Cordray did not create the problem, but he’s not really solving the problem either,” DeWine said.
OK, first off you have to admire DeWine's instinct for the capillaries. These days when a Republican admits that his opponent faces problems he inherited it's so refreshing you almost want to vote for him.


What DeWine doesn't mention is that the crime lab has never lived up to the hype given it by Betty Montgomery. She oversaw the expansion of BCI and touted it as an accomplishment when she ran for reelection. But it has labored under severe case backlogs forever. When I was in the Summit Prosecutor's Office in the early '00s we had to wait weeks for drug test results and months for DNA in any but emergency cases. I had left the Stark County Prosecutor's Office where they have a county lab and few delays.

So what would DeWine do to actually fix the problem?
    “I can’t tell you exactly what the problem is, but I know what the results are, and the results are the crime lab needs to be run more efficiently.”
Excellent. He doesn't know what the problem is, but he's sure he has a solution to it. Mike is tha man. Well let me offer a possibility.

At one point we had a tour of the Richfield lab. It was vacuous. Desolate. Sepulcrous. In a word, empty. There was a staff of criminalists there but also many many empty work stations.

In other words, they built out a crime lab system, but didn't fund actually staffing it.

In this economic climate, you are unlikely to hear either candidate say that what we need to do is spend more money. But the fact is, a serologist can only process so many polymerase chain reactions at a time. There comes a point at which you need more serologists.

I look forward to DeWine continuing the "I can fix the problem without knowing the cause" strategy. For one thing, Cordray says he has made the labs more efficient, and hopefully he has the numbers to back it up. For another, it has always irked me that Montgomery ran on being the crime lab AG when in fact it was a job half done. Any opportunity to correct the record is welcome.


Modern Esquire said...

My favorite line:
" first off you have to admire DeWine's instinct for the capillaries"

That's just great.

Good to see you blogging more often again! :)