Rhode Island

Hundreds of Cases Under Review After Potential Contamination at RI Forensics Lab

The situation involves potential false positive tests for cocaine at the Rhode Island Department of Health Forensic Chemistry Lab, according to the state's Attorney General's Office

DNA Test Lab Generic DNA

Authorities are reviewing hundreds of test results at the Rhode Island Department of Health lab over concerns they could have been contaminated, the state's Attorney General's Office said Friday.

The AG said they first learned of the potential contamination at the Forensic Chemistry Lab on Tuesday and said it could mean false positive tests for cocaine.

Right now it appears to involve tests done by just one particular scientist, officials said. The lab is reviewing any criminal cases that could be affected. So far, 52 cases have been flagged as being impacted, and another 263 are being reviewed.

Defense attorneys and police will be notified if their case is impacted, and samples will be retested. The courts have been made aware of the issues.

The AG's office noted that the notification process is time-consuming because while the lab has notified them of the impacted cases, they do not have corresponding court case numbers for them.

"We have been working to identify all pending and disposed cases as well as cases where the defendant may be held or serving a sentence at the ACI. At this juncture, it does not appear that any defendant is held solely based on charges involving cocaine," a media statement reads.

The review process is ongoing. Anyone with questions can contact the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Contact Us