Is Poor Lab Work Going to Cost a Man His Life?

On Wednesday, in the state’s most superior criminal court, a closer look into Areli Escobar’s case was ordered. Escobar was convicted and sentenced to death in the 2009 sexual assault and stabbing of his neighbor, a young 17-year-old high school student. Nearly a decade later, Escobar’s defense lawyer is calling for a reconsideration of the work that was done by the Austin police crime lab, which Escobar is saying ruined his case.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered an examination of the claims that the police crime lab produced false or misleading conclusions from DNA evidence in the 2009 case. The claims are against tests that were conducted on the shirt, jeans, and shoes that connected Escobar to the murder. Along with this, after the trial, there was a discovery of poorly trained analysts, reports of cross-contamination of samples and questionable analytical methods. All of these factors lead to the possibility that the DNA evidence for Escobar’s trial is inaccurate.

How can mistakes like this be made when a man’s life is at stake? DNA evidence is one of the most incriminating factors in murder cases. A jury would be almost certain to convict a defendant if their DNA matches what is found on the murder scene. In this case, Areli Escobar is sitting on death row because his DNA was found at a crime, yet years later it comes out that the lab was done incorrectly. An innocent man could be put to death because of this miscalculation.

However, we are not saying Escobar is innocent. Rather we are wanting for the right to a fair trial where a person is innocent until proven guilty. An American citizen should not be imprisoned yet alone put on death row due to poor lab work being completed. This case is a prime example of why a good defense attorney is needed if you are ever in any legal trouble.