Federal Complaint Filed
A few months back, we started hearing reports that cops, prosecutors, and crime labs in Michigan were using falsified marijuana lab tests to justify stiffer penalties for people caught with pot. Things in Michigan escalated this week when lawyers Neil Rockind and Michael Komorn together filed a formal complaint in federal court against the Michigan State Police Crime Laboratory.
In a nutshell, here’s what’s been going on in Michigan.
Because possessing marijuana is a misdemeanor but possessing synthetic marijuana is a felony, anytime cops or prosecutors wanted to pin serious charges on a person caught with weed they’d pressure the crime labs to manufacture their results, so it looked like the person had been carrying synthetic pot rather than natural pot.
The main body of evidence in the growing scandal is a series of email correspondences, which have been released as a result of an FOIA request.
In a letter addressed to the Director of the National Institute of Justice, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences in Washington, D.C., Rockind and Komorn reference these emails as proof that “the Crime Lab management allows the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan to control its reporting in such a way that a misdemeanor charge under the Michigan Public Health Code can be elevated from a basic misdemeanor to a felony for the possession or manufacture of synthetic marijuana.”
The lawyers describe the shady practices of the cops, prosecutors, and labs as “serious negligence and misconduct” making impossible “the fair and objective administration of justice within the criminal justice system.”
In a press release published by Rockind and Komorn, the two explained that they are not filing a federal lawsuit at this time.
Rather, they said that their “formal letter of complaint is intended to launch a serious and objective review of the practices of the Crime Lab by the National Institute of Justice.”
From here, we’ll have to wait and see whether or not the feds launch a formal investigation, and if so, how it will all play out.