Dayton backs new rules for crime labs

Gov. Mark Dayton says he supports legislation that would require crime labs in the state of Minnesota to be accredited.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are scouring records to see if thousands of past and pending cases need to be revisited as a result of problems in the St. Paul crime lab.

Officials at that lab suspended drug testing last week after two workers and the former director testified that the lab had no standard procedures for drug testing and did not document the steps taken while testing evidence for drugs.

The St. Paul crime lab is not accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. Dayton says he thinks every state crime lab should have the added scrutiny.

"Any lab like that should be accredited, as our BCA labs, if they're going to be making determinations that are going to affect people's lives, guilt and innocence and the like," Dayton said. "They need to perform to the highest possible standard of the public. The law enforcement community and everybody else needs to know that they meet the highest possible standards."

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has two crime labs, one in Bemidji and one in St. Paul, that are accredited.

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