Prosecution’s Alcohol & Drug Expert a Fraud

Posted by Lawrence Taylor on July 5th, 2012

The prosecution’s evidence in many drunk driving cases relies heavily upon the testimony of a forensic toxicologist — an expert in blood and breath alcohol analysis.  In most cases, these “experts” are not independent witnesses, but either work for the police crime lab or have lucrative contracts with law enforcement.  

Increasingly over recent years, the role of these witnesses — who are presented to juries as objective and impartial scientists — has shifted from objectivity to one of being “team players” who will testify in support of the government’s case, regardless of the facts.  And, unfortunately, the defendant is rarely able to afford a truly independent expert to present a more objective view of the blood or breath alcohol analysis.

Just as the objectivity of the prosecution’s “expert” has shifted, so has the incidence of these professional witness’ fraudulent qualifications… 

Court’s Drug Expert Called a Fraud

Dallas, TX.  July 2 – A presumed expert in alcohol, DNA and drug testing, who has testified in hundreds of family and criminal cases, is an unqualified imposter with no college degree, according to a class action in Dallas County Court.

Lead plaintiff B.W.D. sued James W. Turnage, his company Forensic DNA & Drug Testing Services, and Medtox Scientific, in Dallas County Court.

B.W.D. claims that as a result of Turnage’s flawed testimony, thousands of parents have lost access to their children and countless citizens are behind bars…

B.W.D. says Turnage holds himself out as an expert in drug testing and evaluating drug test results, and that Turnage has been appointed to do drug tests in custody disputes and criminal matters in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties for years.

“Turnage, however, lacks even the minimal educational requirements to work in any technical job in a licensed drug and alcohol testing laboratory,” the complaint states. “Turner has no college degree and is not a toxicologist; he is an imposter. He has masqueraded for years as a technical or scientific expert in the field of toxicology or drug and alcohol testing and has presented himself to the public and the courts as an expert witness by disseminating non-peer review papers to the legal community that contain false scientific information and data cut and pasted without cited references.”

The plaintiff claims that Turnage is qualified only to be a specimen collector, and has failed to distinguish between that job and that of a forensic toxicologist, who is a qualified expert with years of scientific training.

“The impact of Turnage’s unsupervised, unchecked, unregulated mishandling of specimens and his unregulated and unqualified interpretations of test results or deliberate manipulation of the process has a far reaching effect on the citizens of Dallas, Collin, Denton and Tarrant Counties,” the complaint states.

“Literally thousands of mothers and fathers have been denied possession of their children and countless number of citizens are behind bars based on Turnage’s handling of the specimens and his interpretation of the test results.”

B.W.D. says he submitted urine specimens to Turnage for drug tests, for a child custody matter in March 2010.

Five months later, B.W.D. claims, Turnage testified that a urine specimen he submitted that was analyzed by Medtox was invalid due to dilution.

B.W.D. claims Medtox’s results did not indicate dilution and that because of Turnage’s misrepresentation, he was forced to agree to weekly random urinalysis for alcohol and drugs, installation of a breathalyzer in his car for a year and other onerous terms, to maintain joint custody of his daughter…

B.W.D. claims he has taken about 60 tests with other labs contemporaneously with Turnage’s tests and passed all of them, yet several of Turnage’s test results have come back with false positives, have been resubmitted for retesting, have been tainted or invalidated or were sent to Medtox well beyond 24 hours after collection…

This was a civil child custody case, but as indicated in the story, the same “expert” testifies for the prosecution in criminal cases as well — presumably, to help convict citizens accused of drunk driving.

(Thanks to attorney Michael Kessler of Florida.)

  • DUI-The Constitution Need Not Apply

    That is tragic. Hopefully, Mr. Turnage pays a staggering price for his misdeeds.
    In Kansas, prosecuting attorneys use Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment Breath Alcohol Program supervisors and laboratory improvement specialists to testify as experts in DUI cases. These officials spend a great deal of time traveling the state to testify in trials. They have sought to ‘homogenize’ testimony and make it uniform throughout the state. These BAP personnel consider prosecutors and law enforcement their ‘customers’. They act as members of the prosecution, cover mistakes of the police, and at least one of them is willing to perjure herself on the stand in order to obtain convictions. One of them is even known to have conducted pre-trial investigation of a defendant.
    The motivation for these public officials is partly derived from the fact that the BAP receives their funding, minus salaries, from a “DUI fund” paid for through DL reinstatement fees and other defendant paid costs. They have a significant financial interest in obtaining convictions.
    Of course, all of this is well beyond their stated mission and responsibilities. Appalling.

  • There have been so many issues in Texas regarding forensic science in general. Besides serious confirmation bias during analysis, many of the analysts themselves were very incompetent especially in El Paso and Houston. Thanks for the article!

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