Anonymous letter from former lab employee to the court of Perugia

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE COURT OF PERUGIA
TO THE EXPERTS OF THE COURT OF PERUGIA DR.VECCHIOTTI AND DR.CONTI
TO THE CONSULTANTS OF THE PARTIES
TO THE CORRIERE DELL’UMBRIA

20/09/2011

(Anonymous letter from former lab employee)

No Protocols?? Ouch, ouch, ouch …
With reference to the letter signed by the Director of the Scientific Police and to the way of working used by them throughout Italy, it may be of interest to you [more meaningful, there is probably a mistake in the original] to know that:

1. The letter addressed to the Court of Perugia was perhaps taken from the proceedings of the conference attended by the author himself in Urbino in May 2011? Already there [in that conference] he says “this could lead to obtain a DNA profile in more complex cases in which still to this day the outcome is negative” yeah right, in such a way as to fuck them up even more.

2. The numbers of surrveys (“4500”) cannot be referred to the scientific police in Rome (too many), but also not to the entire Italian Scientific Police (too few) and hence you do not understand what they are referred to. This is not surprising because there are no IT programs for the collection and counting of the data on the whole territory. The collection of data is not uniform in fact, it lacks an operational protocol, and no verification of the data arriving from all over Italy is done.

3. There are no uniform and mandatory procedures, not even for the collection and preservation of the most basic traces. There is no checklist of any kind. Cross-checkings are not made on the same samples, so as to verify the reliability of the data provided by a laboratory with respect to another. On any kind of analysis, not just for DNA.

4. In the letter, the Director of the Scientific Police affirmed that laboratories and offices are provided with certificates of quality, pointing out as evidence the presence of “252 regulatory documents and audits conducted by external specialist firms, [some] even of European level.” The Director perhaps forgets (or does not know) that the documents contain prescriptive requirements, i.e. the corrections to be made to have the requested certification, because in the [current] procedures there is something wrong.

5. “The scientific [police]- also wrote Angeloni in the letter- is equipped with a computerized traceability of the exhibits, the technical equipment is cutting-edge and the staff has many years of experience.” This statement is meaningless, for two reasons: a) the exhibits are traced only when they arrive in Rome and before that you know nothing about them, not even if they were sealed when collected, or [if they were sealed] shortly before being received (because if opened [not sealed] they are not accepted, in order not to know what happens before and discharge all liability). When on the exhibits more than one test must be made (e.g. residues of the shot, ballistic, biological, fingerprints, etc.) it is practice that the boxes or containers in which all the material was packaged are opened and, before the date for beginning the operations is established, one goes on with the “household disposal” [not clear what it is, probably jargon] of the exhibits, as though they were relative to different cases. In this way it is very high the possibility of losing important information about exhibits that maybe someone decides arbitrarily to allocate to the ballistics analysis rather than to that of the residues of the shot.

6. Then he says, “Never in the past remarks of this kind have been raised, which herein attack the work of the scientific police,” but even that is not true. The problems are always there when there is a confrontation [contrast], when there are consultants with whom one has to vie also in the scientific domain. In fact, when they [the scientific police] invent analysis not internationally standardized (as for example the analysis with carbon-14 on the most famous pizzini in Italy [pizzini=messages on pieces of paper, probably the author is referring to those of Mafia don Bernardo Provenzano]), perhaps valid but lacking any scientific scrutiny, it is clear that you can say what you want!

7. The Scientific Police of the periphery is not equipped with standardized equipment. Just think of the fridge/freezers in use: they are those used for food! The protective and safety equipments themselves and are not bought for lack of funds. The suits? They are used only when there are TV cameras around. Masks and hoods? You wear them only if there are consultants and lawyers around! The gloves? One must not waste them and the recommendations are of using them until they break up!

8. The chain of custody of evidence (of any kind, think of what happened with the case of Unabomber [the Italian one, unknown to this day]) is not guaranteed. Moreover there are not enough security envelopes and boxes to contain the material that is collected when you make a site visit. Anyone can play around with the exhibits.

9. The refrigeration of the exhibits is not assured, nor traced. Often, indeed, the disorganization and the bad information that the specialists (but what specialists??) trickle down to those who work on the field, make wrong the collection [procedure] of the exhibit itself that ends up moldy. Moreover the exhibits, when picked up by the police, are always taken away open and then dried in unsuitable premises. Indeed certified equipment for drying the exhibits is not supplied to the various bureaux [offices], so they [the exhibits] are allowed to dry near each other on drying racks of the household type in working rooms [practically in the offices].

10.The cleaning of tools and surfaces for DNA [against contamination] is normally carried out only with alcohol and never checked with the white [blank?] control. The white [controls or blank controls] lack even whenever you fetch a DNA sample … and not just that.

11.When the biological result is not as hoped, the amplification of the trace (??[what trace??]) is pushed beyond any reasonable scientific recommendation and will go on until something (??[what??]) is found. May this be the reason why the result is always the presence of mixed unknown subjects?

12.The consultant of the prosecution [Stefanoni], during the operations of the [independent] experts points out that the cycler is not under the extractor fan, as opposed to how it is in the police lab. This [the one in the police lab] is not the right place, because the probability is very high that there is contamination if [the cycler] is placed under an extractor fan whatsoever [e.g. not specialistic].

13.The instrumentation defined as “highly specialized” by the director Angeloni is in many cases without any service contract and, in case of failure, left idle for months and months.

14.The biological sample is always completely destroyed, without ensuring the repeatability of the test, which would be possible most of the times, as it is the case in all civilized countries of the world.

15.It is fashionable to solve cold cases. It is easy [to do that by] assigning [DNA] profiles to deceased people or by classifying as useful fingerprints that had been judged useless at the time of the fact [crime].

16.The police which qualify itself as scientific is not equipped with an adequate library and does not provide for those who work in the various sectors, the possibility of obtaining information on international scientific journals. Just look at what is the formation of the Director Angeloni. Is he perhaps a scientist? Is he perhaps a researcher? Is he perhaps a specialist of the sector?

17.In short, on no topic there are clear guidelines which take as reference the working methods recognized by all scientific investigators worldwide.
The icing on the cake … What does the police do? They give awards to the investigators and scientists (who have “solved” in their own way the Kercher case) with accolades and praises! Just Bravi!! [parentheses repositioned to what probably is the correct position]

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