Metro's crime lab has more than 700 toxicology and blood alcohol reports to conduct causing a backlog in the criminal justice system. Eyewitness News first told you about the delay on Dec. 6th after a DUI suspect was let out of jail because the District Attorney's office could not file charges against the man.
Our perception from the CSI television series is that within an hour, high-tech lab results are conducted solving a crime. The reality is it takes at least two days for a full toxicology report. Currently, Metro's crime lab -- the only full service forensic lab in Southern Nevada -- has a two-month delay. The main reason for the backlog at the lab now is that the facility was moved in September to a new location and all the machines have to be recalibrated.
Linda Errichetto, Metro Forensic Lab Director, said, "Most of the disciplines in the lab started work again November 1st. However, in toxicology, because they had 19 methods to revalidate on instruments, it's take us a little bit longer."
Some emergency reports were sent out to a private facility while the Metro lab was reopening it's new location. The 34 technicians have also been working overtime to get them up to speed. As for accused criminals getting out of jail, the lab takes no official position because they are just the scientists conducting the lab work.
Director Linda Errichetto said, "We certainly feel badly because we believe our role in the community is important and that's what we're here to do -- serve our community."
Metro's forensic lab expects to have the toxicology reports up and running again on Jan. 1, 2006. They say that it will take several months to catch up on the backlog.
Contact Reporter Cindy Cesare