Medical Examiner Mistake Could Threaten Thousand of Cases



Apparently Quincy, ME doesn’t live in Broward County.

I don’t think fictional medical examiner R. Quincy (actor Jack Klugman) would have made the mistake on his famed TV show that now threatens as many as 3,600 criminal cases in Broward.

The Medical Examiners Office told State Attorney Mike Satz this week that the methods used to test drugs in its laboratories were not scientifically validated.

That could jeopardize a lot of cases if they hinge on those toxicology reports.

How many cases?

“We don’t know yet,” Satz said. “I don’t know how significant this is yet.”

Satz was given a list of defendants that could have been affected by the faulty tests. Some of the tests involved people awaiting trial.

“We’re going to check each case and see what significance the test had,” Satz said. “We don’t want to go to trial with a tainted test.”

When learning of the problem late Tuesday, Satz immediately contacted Howard Finkelstein and the head of the Broward Defense Bar Association.  His prosecutors will be contacting each defense attorney who has a client with a potentially bad test.

There will probably not be a flood of accused drunk drivers let out.  It doesn’t involve alcohol testing.

But it involves tests for drugs, so anyone arrested recently for driving while intoxicated on drugs could have their fluid tests thrown out.

“We will test them again” if possible from fluids that are in storage, Satz said.

Dr. Craig Mallak, the ME, did not tell Satz who was involved in the mistake or how far back the invalid tests were being conducted.

Satz, who is less than two weeks away from an election, said he had no idea yet how long it will take to sort out the problem caused by the ME’s office.

Ron Ishoy, Satz’s spokesman, explained the problem will have to dealt with “on a case-by-case basis….This is a problem for the entire criminal justice system.  Everyone is always concerned when someone raises a question about the method to test evidence.  Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys want a decision based on any questionable evidence.”

Here is the letter explaining the problem (click to enlarge):


5 Responses to “Medical Examiner Mistake Could Threaten Thousand of Cases”

  1. Lois says:


    FROM BUDDY: THX for catching the typo.

  2. Watching the race says:

    Clearly a guy not from Broward. Had Mallak been from Broward, this would be covered up.

    We need more guys like this in government. Mallak for Sheriff?

    When is the last time a leader came in, saw mistakes, and corrected them like the guy has. It actually restores my faith a little in the system.

  3. Kevin says:

    For all you Young’Uns who don’t know what Buddy is talking about:

    PS: You kids stay off my lawn.

  4. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    Dr.mallack what a mess he inherited. Good old Dr.Perper. I mean from the vicadan missing, uncountable,etc. to now they screwed up lab work where probably several hundred defendants will now contest their verdicts. I mean this Dr. should be held accountable. Dr.Perper and son no less should have their medical icensed taken away. Another big mess. Who picks up the tab-The Broward County Commission once again. They all screw up and the County Comm. takes the hit. Dr.Mallack clean house -get rid of every staff member at your Office and start over. Again what a mess.

  5. Gary Chadwick NMB says:

    Isn’t the state suppose to supply a proper defense when needed? These faulty tests seem to be going on for some time! Were the state tests ever challenged by a proper defense? This could encompass more than just faulty drug tests. How many that were innocent ended up being found guilty and sentenced due to an improper defense provided by the state! Democracy in action? Isn’t that just one of the things our soldiers are fighting for? Have any of them suffered due to that? The state is liable for all of that!