Should drug-lab issues derail hundreds of cases? New chief says lab was 'like a 'Hoarding' episode'

Should hundreds of Delaware drug cases be thrown out because of problems in the testing laboratory overseen by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner? Or should proof of tainted evidence be required before cases are dismissed?

That is the issue that faces a state-court judge who began hearing arguments Tuesday in two cases. Judge William Carpenter Jr. is expected to issue a ruling that could determine the fate of hundreds of others, the News Journal reports.

Robyn Quinn said her predecessor was “rarely at work,” and left behind drugs and evidence among piles of documents and personal belongings in her office when she retired last year.

“To be honest, it was like a ‘Hoarding’ episode in there,” testified Robyn Quinn, the new director of the now-shuttered lab, about the situation she found when she took charge of the facility. Former lab manager Caroline Honse was “rarely at work,” Quinn told the judge, and Honse left behind evidence–including drugs–along with paperwork and personal items in her office after she retired last year.

Quinn also described a lack of oversight and procedures and access by unauthorized employees to evidence.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Public defenders file more than 400 motions seeking to reopen Delaware drug cases”

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