Defense attorney reviewing cases amid investigation into Colorado DNA analyst
DENVER — When the Colorado Bureau of Investigation announced an investigation into one of its DNA scientists, a defense attorney in Denver began to put his cases under the microscope.
“We don’t want to miss a case,” criminal defense attorney Casey Krizman said. “We think it is very important.”
CBI said the 29-year veteran Yvonne “Missy” Woods is no longer an employee after “anomalies” were found in her work. According to a media release, the anomalies were discovered while reviewing a sampling of cases as part of an internal process.
CBI is conducting an internal affairs investigation with experts from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. CBI is also looking for an outside state investigative agency to conduct a criminal investigation.
9NEWS has asked CBI what anomalies they found and how many cases could be impacted. They would only say Woods’ caseload was “extensive.”
The agency hasn’t said what problem they are looking into. In the meantime, Krizman is looking to see which of his cases Woods may have done analysis for.
“Sure, we don’t know what we are looking for yet, but when there is a criminal investigation involving someone who impacted my clients, we are going to look at it,” he said.
9NEWS obtained a copy of the letter the current CBI director, Chris Schaefer, sent to district attorneys last week.
Schaefer wrote the agency may have information about Woods that could affect her credibility in court. Schaefer in the letter said the agency is finalizing a plan which includes compiling a list of cases she may have worked on. The plan also involves prioritizing and retesting cases, the letter said.
“I can confirm I have clients who Ms. Woods worked on their cases,” Krizman said. “She’s not under investigation for a DUI or a homicide, but there are specific anomalies in her work, and those anomalies are people’s lives. So that is why it’s really concerning.”
Woods testified in court as an expert witness at least 500 times – including in some of the state’s highest-profile cases. In at least 370 of those cases, she testified as an expert in forensic DNA.
Krizman said Woods never testified in any cases he handled, but he is looking to see if his clients took a plea deal based on Woods’ DNA analysis.
“We rely on the integrity of the criminal justice system and DNA results to be credible in order for us to be able to make determinations, in order for juries to determine guilt or innocence,” Krizman said.
He doesn’t want to notify his clients until he knows more, but he’ll continue searching for Woods’ name in his caseload while he waits for answers from CBI.
“Once we have more information we will know how to act upon it,” Krizman said.
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