D.C.’s long-troubled crime lab has won back a key accreditation two years after losing it following a 2021 scandal in which an independent panel of forensic experts concluded, among other concerns, that the lab made an error in testing ballistics evidence in two 2015 homicide cases and then refused to acknowledge the mistake, Justin Wm. Moyer reports for the Washington Post. As a result of the suspension, the District lost its ability to use forensic evidence from the lab in court prosecutions — including DNA analyses, firearms and rape kits — and had to contract with private companies to perform these services.
On Tuesday, however, officials announced that two DFS forensic science units had won back accreditation from the ANSI National Accreditation Board, permitting the department to resolve a backlog of cases and hire essential experts and staff. Lindsey Appiah, the deputy mayor for public safety, said in an interview that the accreditation of the crime lab will help expedite investigations and bring swifter justice as the city faces an ongoing crime wave. This is the second time D.C.’s crime lab has ceased operating since 2016 when federal prosecutors found errors in cases analyzed by the lab’s DNA unit and the lab suspended DNA forensic work for 10 months as new practices were adopted.