Defense lawyer alleges “systemic failure” at Maine crime lab
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A criminal defense lawyer claims that officials have withheld information that could reveal “systemic failures” at the state police forensic lab and has filed a lawsuit against Maine for the release of those documents.
Lyman-based lawyer Amy Fairfield said Tuesday in a filing in her ongoing lawsuit over public records that the public deserves transparency in how the criminal justice system operates, Bangor Daily News reported.
Fairfield’s office submitted a Maine Freedom of Access Act request last year for information about the resignation of a crime lab employee in 2012 after he allegedly lied to superiors. His resignation caused the state to alert courts that evidence provided by the employee could have credibility issues.
Attorney General Aaron Frey’s office said he had provided thousands of pages of documents in response to Fairfield’s request, but withheld some that contain confidential personnel information.
A spokesperson for Frey declined a request to comment from the newspaper. A Maine State Police spokesperson did not return requests for comment.
The lab handles DNA testing and screens for fluids left at crime scenes as well as examining firearms and gunshot residue.