DWI Forensic Expert Warned – Stop Talking and Get a Lawyer
A forensic scientist in the state of Texas has had his work called into question and will no longer be performing lab work or serving as an expert in drinking and driving cases in the counties of Dallas, Denton, Collin, and Rockwall, Texas. Court officials in these counties have requested that the cases pending trial that had been worked on by Chris Youngkin, the scientist in question, be reanalyzed by another forensic expert as per the state’s Department of Public Safety.
Youngkin’s credibility was questioned over a lab error that occurred in 2013. Under Youngkin’s care, an individual who had not consumed alcohol was reported to have had a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.152 percent. Since the incident, Youngkin has given conflicting statements as to how the lab error occurred, which is more of an issue than the error itself. Youngkin has given conflicting testimony regarding this error in different counties and different trials.
According to a partial transcript of a recent hearing as part of Youngkin’s case, defense attorney Troy Burleson questioned the analyst about a case out of Dallas County from 2013 in which Youngkin testified that he had switched the vials, which caused the lab error. The defense attorney then asked Youngkin about testimony he made in the Collin County case in which he testified that he did not switch the vials, and he was not aware of how the lab error actually occurred.
During Youngkin’s hearing, Lance Baxter, the county court judge, reminded Youngkin that he had the right to remain silent and consult with an attorney – after this warning from the judge, Youngkin used his right to not testify against himself, at which time the hearing abruptly came to a close. Hunter Biederman, defense attorney Burleson’s partner, stated after the hearing that Youngkin had given two inconsistent and conflicting statements.
While it may seem that barring Youngkin from working on any further Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases may seem to solve the issue, it does not take into account the thousands of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cases Youngkin had been involved with including being a part of the chain of custody for thousands of defendants’ blood samples. While this case is still ongoing, there is no way to tell what the repercussions will be moving forward or if previous DWI cases will be reopened in these counties.