Defense attorneys and criminal justice advocates are calling for a more thorough review of forensic scientist G. Michele Yezzo’s work. Yezzo, who worked for a state crime lab, is now facing accusations of bias and manipulation-allegations that, if proven true, could reverse countless criminal convictions.
The Columbus Dispatch turned to Attorney Jon Saia for insight on the controversy: “We will never know the real truth until they bring in an outside agency to do an audit of her cases,” he said. “If they don’t do that, then the attorney general is just hiding the truth from us. This was a leading expert witness from the state. An investigation needs to be launched and things need to be corrected.”
Attorney Saia is one of the many voices calling for a complete review of all of Yezzo’s work. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has claimed that his office has already conducted a review of the cases Yezzo was involved with and found them all to be “credible.”
Random Review of 100 Cases
DeWine’s investigation into the Yezzo’s work, however, has drawn criticism from defense attorneys and organizations alike. Instead of reviewing all of Yezzo’s work, only “about 100” of randomly selected cases since 1985 were re-examined. Opponents say that that sample size is not enough.
Yezzo maintains her innocence, but her recently uncovered personal file found that several of her colleagues had accused her of bias. She resigned in 2009 when an internal investigation (spurred by the Ohio Innocence Project) found inconsistencies in her lab work. Doubt about the integrity of Yezzo’s forensic testing has already overturned one conviction and set a man free.
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