House committee to assist Bromwich with subpoenas

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The Chronicle‘s Steve McVicker reports that three key witnesses who have thus far refused to answer questions from Michael Bromwich about the HPD crime lab may soon be compelled to do so by a Texas House committee:

Three recalcitrant witnesses believed to hold key information concerning the root of problems at the Houston Police Department crime lab could soon be forced to tell what they know.

Michael Bromwich, the city’s independent investigator, and Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, chairman of the House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics, confirmed Tuesday that an unorthodox agreement has been reached that would let Bromwich use the committee’s subpoena power to compel the uncooperative former lab employees to testify under oath.

“We’re pleased we’ve been able to reach an agreement with Chairman Bailey and the members of his committee that will advance our investigation,” Bromwich said.

In his latest report on the crime lab released earlier this month, Bromwich, a former U.S. Justice Department inspector general, said DNA and serology analysts may have tailored their findings to support predetermined crime theories.

Bromwich also complained that the probe by his team of forensic investigators has been hindered by an absence of cooperation from three ex-crime lab employees: former lab supervisor Don Krueger, former DNA lab chief James Bolding and former analyst Christy Kim.

Krueger retired in February 2003 after the DNA section’s widespread problems were exposed. Former Police Chief C.O. Bradford later recommended that Krueger be fired for his role in the lab’s problems. Bolding resigned in 2003 to avoid being fired. Kim was fired, but the Civil Service Commission re-instated her and she later retired.

It will be useful finally to have detailed testimony from these three former employees.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Bromwich investigation.

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