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FDLE Releases Final Report On Crime Lab Changes

News Release: Florida Department of Law Enforcement
April 18, 2014

While the investigation of Joseph Graves remains active, our Inspector General review of our lab system is complete. That is attached as well as a flyer regarding the changes. Yesterday evening, FDLE Assistant Commissioner Cindy Sanz sent the flyer to the Florida Police Chief's Association and Florida Sheriff's Association so they could forward the changes to their members.

The changes include new packaging to include a description of submitted items and the requirement that pharmaceutical drugs be packaged in clear bags. Also, limit forensic vault access to members with evidence intake duties and prohibit lab analysts who work on cases from assigning cases to themselves.

We believe approximately 100 cases were potentially compromised by Graves.

March 5, 2013
By Julie Montanaro

A Tallahassee drug case - that was among those that led to the arrest of an FDLE chemist - is still in legal limbo.

Fred Cromartie was in court this morning. He's accused of leaving children home alone in a house with guns and drugs.

Yet the chemist who analyzed those drugs for FDLE has since been arrested and accused of tampering with evidence in this case and others.

State Attorney Willie Meggs says his office is still reviewing the evidence in the Cromartie case and has not yet made a decision on whether they'll drop the charges in this case or take it to trial.

Meggs also revealed today that there are nine cases under review in the Second Circuit that were handled by that FDLE chemist.

Updated By: Andy Alcock

February 12, 2014, 6pm

Fewer problems than expected are being found during an ongoing investigation into a former Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist and the drugs he handled.

According to FDLE, 70 percent of the 2600 cases Joseph Graves worked have been reviewed.

To date, 81 of them have been potentially compromised.

Graves, who managed a 6 person team at FDLE's Pensacola lab, is accused of stealing prescription drugs and replacing them with over the counter ones in several cases.

It prompted FDLE to take a look at all the cases Graves worked since 2006.

They span more than half the state.

FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey updated state lawmakers at a senate committee hearing Wednesday.

"We're finding a lot of the cases that are not at all impacted by what's happened here," Bailey said. "Now the defense attorneys may very well come back and tell you they're impacted but most of them we're finding no tampering," he said.

However, Bailey says the investigation isn't complete.

He also says in some older cases already prosecuted, local law enforcement had destroyed drug evidence by the time FDLE investigators came for their ongoing review the cases Graves worked.

Bailey told lawmakers one change already being implemented to prevent a similar problem is to keep drug evidence in clear plastic bags so it can be seen instead of the brown paper bags previously used.

"We think that one very simple move will help to some extent," he said.

Other proposals include providing a more detailed description of drug evidence, random checking of evidence containers in the vault, and the Inspector General conducting random inspections of evidence while in a chemist's possession.

"Those will be carefully thought out, there are strong considerations," Bailey said.

Bailey promised lawmakers two reports on the chemist drug scandal.

He said they'll get an Inspector General's report soon.

Bailey also said they'll get a full report on the criminal investigation once it's completed.

And he says more charges against Graves are possible.

Source: www.wctv

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