The Forensic Science Geek of the Week
The week 29 “www.TheTruthAboutForensicScience.com Forensic Science Geek of the Week” honors goes to:
As frequent viewers of this blog site will know, Ron Moore is a frequent winner of this weekly competition. He is a unique lawyer in the fact that he has a technical background in forensic science. He spent many years working as an analyst and a supervisor. Very recently, he accepted a job as an associate with the Law Office of Virginia L. Landry in Orange County. The addition of Ron Moore to an already all-star office including the office’s principle Virginia L. Landry who is already well-known and well-regarded along with another great attorney Meghan O’Brien-Taylor will be of major benefit to all of the motorists and citizens accused of DUI and related charges in Orange County.
is Week 29’s www.TheTruthAboutForensicScience.com Forensic Science Geek of the Week!
Congratulations to our Week 29 winner! All hail the www.TheTruthAboutForensicScience.com Forensic Science Geek of the Week!!!
See the challenge question that our winner correctly answered.
Our winner answered the question correctly.
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Our Geek of the Week answered:
This is Gary Veeder, a New York forensic scientist who committed suicide while being investigated for doing shoddy work and dry-labbing examinations. He appears to be doing a shoe-print comparison.
[BLOGGER’S NOTE: Just to amplify….
ALBANY — A State Police forensic scientist falsified data in dozens of criminal cases over a period of 15 years, according to an investigation by the state Inspector General. The report found the substandard work went undetected because the agency was not equipped to review the scientist’s work.
The investigation, which uncovered other problems in the sprawling laboratory, focused on a forensic scientist from Voorheesville, Gary Veeder, who committed suicide last year as an internal probe of his work was unfolding.
Veeder, 58, falsified records to conceal his fraudulent work, the report said. He was assigned to a trace evidence unit of the State Police’s Forensic Investigation Center in Albany that examined fibers, arson residue, footwear impressions, glass, hair and other evidence gathered in criminal investigations, officials said.
The Inspector General’s office, which was asked to investigate the matter by the State Police and the state Commission on Forensic Science, said problems were found in 29 percent of Veeder’s 322 cases.
The offices of more than 40 district attorneys around the state were contacted during the Inspector General’s investigation to notify them of criminal cases that may have been compromised by Veeder’s work.
Twelve of those cases were in Albany County, eight in Rensselaer County, and three each in Saratoga and Schenectady counties, officials said. Details of those cases were not available, and it’s unclear whether any were thrown out or weakened as a result of the fraudulent work.
Veeder “routinely failed to conduct a required test when examining fiber evidence, then falsely indicated in case records that he had performed the test,” the report states. “When, after an outside audit, laboratory management learned of Veeder’s violations, it conducted a flawed internal inquiry which summarily dismissed Veeder’s assertions that his misconduct was a product of deficient training and supervision possibly implicating the work of other laboratory trace evidence staff.”
The Inspector General said Veeder was “substantially accurate” in his complaints to supervisors that the lab’s staff lacked proper training. State Police reviews of Veeder’s work were substandard and enabled the scientist’s violations to elude detection for years, authorities said.
Veeder was found dead by hanging in a garage at his home on Scotchpine Drive in May 2008…
A person familiar with the contents of a note left by Veeder before his death said Veeder wrote that he was concerned about being targeted in the ongoing internal affairs investigation. The State Police were conducting an audit of the forensics unit at the time Veeder died.
“Cutting corners in a crime lab is serious and intolerable,” Inspector General Joseph Fisch said in a statement.
State Police Superintendent Harry Corbitt wrote a letter to Fisch earlier this month pledging to clean up the problems.
“The report documents violations of internal State Police protocols, failure in supervision, quality control lapses in fiber analysis cases performed in the Trace Evidence Section … and inappropriate communications with scientific personnel,” Corbitt wrote. “We will move quickly to address the issues raised in your report and ensure there are no similar problems with any other units within the State Police Crime Laboratory System.”
The report also noted problems with supervision in the unit. The report said Veeder’s supervisor, Anthony Piscitelli, “did not require staff to perform the required fiber test which Veeder skipped and also approved some of Veeder’s deficient work.”
R. Michael Portzer, a scientist who reviewed Veeder’s work, was not qualified for that task and had been disqualified for incompetence from conducting fiber tests, according to the Inspector General.
In another case, the report said Maj. Richard Nuzzo, who was formerly assistant director of the Forensic Investigation Center, allegedly tried to influence a handwriting analysis in an internal investigation of a trooper that was being investigated by his brother, Robert Nuzzo, then a State Police lieutenant.
The scientist who was conducting the analysis told investigators she declined to alter her report; the Inspector General found no proof the findings were altered, only that Nuzzo had allegedly tried to coerce the outcome.
However, the investigation found information the scientist had initially altered her report after speaking with Richard Nuzzo, but then changed it back.
The problems at the State Police laboratory began to unravel in April 2008, when an examiner with the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors spotted anomalies in Veeder’s work during a review of the facility. The society was at the lab as part of a routine audit to re-accredit the State Police.
The examiner pressed Veeder about a questionable report involving a fiber analysis.
“Veeder was unable to explain how he obtained the aberrant result,” the Inspector General’s report states. “The assessor also noted that Veeder was unable to articulate or perform basic tasks in fiber analysis including proper operation of a microscope.”
Rather than address Veeder’s problematic fiber analysis work, the State Police — which had no one qualified to review his work — instead ceased conducting those types of examinations in order for the accreditation process to move forward.
Still, State Police launched an internal probe in which they said Veeder admitted creating data to make it appear he had conducted analysis that was not performed — a practice known as “dry-labbing.” Veeder also told investigators that he didn’t actually know how to conduct some of the tests he had claimed to have performed. Instead, he would rely on a “crib sheet” that had been provided to him by Piscitelli, the prior supervisor in the trace unit.
“This is how I was trained to, how we’ve always done it,” Veeder told State Police investigators, according to the Inspector General’s report.
The Inspector General also accused top State Police officials who were assigned to investigate Veeder of turning a blind eye to the scientist’s statements about questionable training and “wide-ranging deficiencies.”
The report said State Police “skewed” their report about Veeder’s allegations and provided misleading to the State Police Internal Affairs Bureau.
The Hall of Fame for the www.TheTruthAboutForensicScience.com Forensic Science Geek of the Week:
Week 1: Chuck Ramsay, Esquire
Week 2: Rick McIndoe, PhD
Week 3: Christine Funk, Esquire
Week 4: Stephen Daniels
Week 5: Stephen Daniels
Week 6: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire
Week 7: Christine Funk, Esquire
Week 8: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.
Week 9: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.
Week 10: Kelly Case, Esquire and Michael Dye, Esquire
Week 11: Brian Manchester, Esquire
Week 12: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.
Week 13: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.
Week 14: Josh Lee, Esquire
Week 15: Joshua Dale, Esquire and Steven W. Hernandez, Esquire
Week 16: Christine Funk, Esquire
Week 17: Joshua Dale, Esquire
Week 18: Glen Neeley, Esquire
Week 19: Amanda Bynum, Esquire
Week 20: Josh Lee, Esquire
Week 21: Glen Neeley, Esquire
Week 22: Stephen Daniels
Week 23: Ron Moore, B.S., J.D.
WEEK 24: Bobby Spinks
WEEK 25: Jon Woolsey, Esquire
WEEK 26: UNCLAIMED, IT COULD BE YOU!!!!
Week 27: Richard Middlebrook, Esquire
WEEK 28: UNCLAIMED, IT COULD BE YOU!!!!
WEEK 29: RON MOORE, ESQUIRE