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Former San Francisco lab tech sentenced for drug charges

A former technician for the San Francisco crime lab has been sentenced regarding misdemeanor drug charges. The 63-year-old laboratory technician had resigned from the crime lab in 2009 following almost 30 years of service to the laboratory. According to reports, the former technician had admitted to taking small quantities of cocaine from the lab throughout her tenure there.

The laboratory technician had faced the drug charges twice, but each instance had led to a hung jury. She had formerly faced felony charges regarding the theft of the cocaine but finally plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge. She was sentenced following her guilty plea, and was given probation to be served over five years.

This sentence included one year of house arrest during which she would need to wear an ankle bracelet. She was also sentenced to a fine of $5,000 and community service of 300 hours following her guilty plea. Her guilty plea may have widespread ramifications for the drug prosecutions in San Francisco during her time with the crime lab.

The crime lab technician was able to enter into a guilty plea for a misdemeanor after the prosecution attempted and failed to try her for a felony multiple times. As a consequence, her legal counsel managed to get her sentence reduced significantly. The penalties for felony drug crimes can be very severe, and the misdemeanor charge she ended up with does not involve any jail time. Her case is not the only case affected by this new development, however. Others who were convicted of drug crimes during her time in the lab may be able to pursue appeals with the aid of their criminal defense attorneys on the basis of this new information. There are many ways a professional defense attorney could use this case to cast doubt on the validity of lab information.

Source: abc 7 News, "Former SFPD lab tech sentenced for drug possession", July 19, 2013

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