In early July, the State Department of Health’s DUI blood testing lab was suspended. On Monday, the State of Colorado announced publicly that they were permanently shutting it down.
The forensic lab was suspended after a report was disclosed that painted a picture of a biased environment, where the supervisor was in favor of the prosecution and employees were asked to testify in court about issues that they were not educated in. After three months, it was decided that the State would end testing for DUI cases, and outsource the blood vials to private laboratories for testing.
When the report was finally revealed in June, the Colorado Department of Health’s former director, Dr. Chris Urbina, stated publicly that the problem was resolved and it would be business as usual. The Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, however, stood at the steps of the Colorado Supreme Court and blasted the government for the late disclosure and the contents of the report. Soon thereafter, the lab was suspended.
DUI attorney Jay Tiftickjian spoke to 9News Colorado about the decision to close the laboratory and disagreed with the decision. He stated that it would be more costly for the State to outsource the work, and instead argued for more transparency and better protocols instead of its decision to punt. Tiftickjian also appeared on 7News with Arapahoe District Attorney George Brauchler and the Colorado Department of Health’s Director Dr. Larry Wolk to debate the decision to close the State’s laboratory instead.