Court Reverses Ruling in Nassau Crime Lab Case

In this Dec. 2010 photo released by the Nassau County Police Department via Newsday, an interior view of the Nassau County crime laboratory is shown.  (AP Photo)

A New York State appellate court Wednesday reversed last year’s decision by a Nassau County judge who tossed a guilty verdict for a Hicksville woman amid concerns over the handling of evidence at the county’s now-shuttered crime lab.

The ruling stems from the Judge George Peck’s decision to set aside an August 2010 conviction of Erin Marino for vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated, among other charges.


“The defendant failed to meet her burden of establishing that the new evidence cast doubt on the accuracy of the results of her blood alcohol testing such that the result would probably be different at a retrial,” the appellate court stated in its ruling, adding that a new trial should have been denied.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said she welcomes the decision. She said violations that led to the Nassau County Police Department Crime Lab’s closing “would have cast no doubt on the accuracy of Marino’s blood alcohol test result or altered the verdict, which was based on overwhelming proof of guilt.”

She added that “the Appellate Division’s decision further confirms what I have maintained all along: There was no widespread problem with blood alcohol testing at the lab.”

The overturning of Peck’s ruling came several months after the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors put the crime lab on probation amid allegations of misconduct in the drug-testing section of the lab.

In February 2011, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano closed the lab at Rice’s request.

Prosecutors alleged that on June 25, 2009, Marino was speeding when she lost control of her vehicle and collided with several other cars at a traffic light, injuring some of the occupants.

Officials said blood samples taken from Marino at the hospital one hour later revealed a blood alcohol content of .24 percent, three times the legal limit.

Marino’s attorney, who did not return a call for comment, is reportedly planning to appeal the decision.

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