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State Forensic Scientist Accused of Slanting Evidence

Posted On: November 23rd, 2016   |   Posted by: Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP

Forensic science is often the most compelling and persuasive evidence put before a jury in a criminal trial. Fingerprints, footprints, tire tracks or blood spatter evidence could all be determining factors in who was at a crime scene or what was used to commit a crime. The assumption is that since forensic evidence is provided by trained scientists it has been processed professionally and impartially. However, recent investigations by defense attorneys and the Columbus Dispatch have raised serious questions about the work performed by a state forensic scientist who worked at Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation for over 30 years. Questions about the work performed by G. Michele Yezzo have now raised doubts about the hundreds of cases she worked on during her time with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

If you are charged with a crime in Columbus, call the criminal defense lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your particular case.

The Case that Raised Concerns

The work of G. Michele Yezzo began to gain statewide attention at the start of this year when attorneys for the Ohio Innocence Project sought the release of James Parsons, a man convicted in 1993 for the 1981 murder of his wife. G. Michele Yezzo had been the lead investigator in the case, and her blood spatter analysis was used to identify a murder weapon that traced back to Parsons.

Lawyers with the Ohio Innocence Project discovered that the defense attorney for James Parsons had not been informed of Yezzo’s office behavioral issues and that there were internal questions about the impartiality of her work. In seeking Parsons’ release, they argued that Yezzo did not properly document her blood spatter results. More troublingly, the attorneys discovered a supervisor’s memo stating the Yezzo’s findings and conclusions might be suspect because she “will stretch the truth to satisfy a department.” The judge that heard the petition for the release of James Parsons concluded the information regarding Yezzo raised “grave doubts about her credibility” and dismissed the murder conviction against Parsons.

Since the Parsons case, the Columbus Dispatch conducted a review of Yezzo’s personnel records and defense attorneys have formed a task force to review every case where she was involved. The review by the Columbus Dispatch found that colleagues and supervisors often raised issues with Yezzo’s work that included serious mistakes, the use of suspect investigation methods and presenting evidence in the best light to favor the prosecution. The review also found behavioral problems that could create doubt as to Yezzo’s credibility. The Ohio Attorney General announced that they had conducted an internal review of over 100 of Yezzo’s cases in 2015 but found no issues. The investigation task force was formed to independently review each of Yezzo’s cases and not just the small sample chosen by the Ohio Attorney General.

Call a Columbus Criminal Defense Lawyer if You Face Charges

The questions regarding the work of G. Michele Yezzo do not mean that every case is tainted or that all the evidence provided by a state forensic scientist from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is slanted to benefit the prosecution. What these issues do show is that a good criminal defense needs to not only look at the evidence but also how that evidence was collected and analyzed. In order to get the best defense possible, it is important to have a strong, experienced Columbus criminal defense attorney who can look at your case from every angle and identify all of the problems with the case against you.

So if you have a conviction from 2009 or earlier that you feel might have been influenced by the work of G. Michele Yezzo, or have any other reason to need a strong Columbus criminal defense, contact the attorneys of Luftman, Heck & Associates. We represent our clients on criminal charges from domestic violence and theft to murder and manslaughter.

Protect your rights and your freedom by calling us today at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation.

I can FINALLY breathe easy now. I want to thank Mr. Bowen and all the attorneys that helped me with this case.

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