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10 Mistakes I Have Already Made

(And, some helpful phone numbers and sample court orders)

Gigi Gordon, Directing Attorney

Post Conviction Assistance Center

Los Angeles, CA






1.) Waiting for the District Attorney to do the testing

How the labs deal with the DAís and the Detectives

How it really works

Letting the DA pick the lab or not

Cutting the swab, how to explain this to the Court, no splits anymore, you donít need to split a period...or a nanogram



2.) Thinking that LAPD, Sheriff or any Law Enforcement Lab tests all the evidence or that they test the relevant evidence

The money issue- three card Monte

The vaginal swab case- testing the anal swab

Best swab- Background DNA

Why thinking your own expert is psychic is not a swell idea



3.) Thinking that a private lab used by the DA, specifically Cell mark, or SERI tests all the evidence or tests the relevant evidence

Thinking that the analysts canít or wonít talk and take outside information into consideration- and if so, get the paperwork and their logs for what was said.



4.) Thinking that DNA testing is DNA testing and that it doesnít matter which lab you use.

Forensic examination and testing vs. testing, quantity and quality

Identification of what is being tested- the bathtub approach

Why I have DNA results in a case but donít know where the DNA came from. It makes a difference whether it is semen or spit...



5.) The Report- Why it doesnít say what you think it says and why you donít understand what it actually says. Why you need someone to talk to...



6.) Thinking that this will take less than 6 months- the backlog

How long does it really take? Why it really takes so long- how long it really takes, machine to machine to result- 72 hours, peer review, who can testify, who does testify, 2 per month x 20 analysts (max)



7.) CODIS Database - It ainít CSI out there, donít think theyíve used it till you see a report, how they get access, your right to access it ... by statute...Prop 69,the backlog, whatís going to happen, who is in the database



8.) Things to Test, Things not to test, Mixtures, Off the Wall Results, Contamination, Flying DNA nanograms, ...(A whole lot of dna in those little dots)

Earplugs, glasses, bottles, towels, sheets, nuclear vs. non nuclear


9.) Why bells and whistles are not for you.... Mitochondrial DNA - bone and hair and cases where it is last resort. YSTR-



10) Chase Your Own Orders- When is A Court Order not A Court Order?

Two examples- Guillory/ taking a sample- Cruz- getting the stuff out of the police department and to your own expert

You have to do the work- prepare the Court order- order them to package it, federal express it, (with your account number)

What does forthwith mean? Why you need to keep calling yourself

But, our policy is to ask the DA or the Detective...

Why Gigi knows the lab directors and a lot of deputy chiefs...






Phone Numbers



Forensic Analytical- Keith Inman (800) 827-3274, (510) 887-8828

SERI†††††††††††† ††††† - Gary Harmor, Brian Wraxall (510) 223-7374

Mark Taylor†††††††††† - Technical Associates (805) 677-2155




see above and

Professor Bill Thompson UC Irvine (949) 824-6165

Alternate Public Defenderís Office- Walter Krstulja (213) 974-8239

Public Defenderís Office - Mark Windham, (213) 893-0283

Jennifer Friedman


LAPD DNA AND SEROLOGY - Whatís going on with the testing?

Why has the stuff not been sent out per the court order?

What is being tested, when did the testing start? When will it be done?

Greg Matheson- boss at the Lab (213) 847-0043

Larry Blanton- boss at the Lab ďsameĒ


LAPD bosses in charge of DNA and Serology Folks

Assistant Chief Sharon Pappa- Is the Chief Who is the Boss of LAPDís Lab and also the Property Division

(213) 485-4018

Why are the people in the lab and the people in property division not 1) sending my stuff out per the court order 2) testing the stuff like the DA or the Detective told the Court they are doing 3) How long should I tell the Judge it is going to take to get this done.

LAPD Property Division- If your stuff is not at the lab but is still in Booked property - Wanda Bell 213 485-5360, fax 213 485-1697



Barry Fisher, Director

(213) 989-5002


State Department of Justice

Bureau of Forensic Services

Jay Mark -Assistant Chief (916) 227-3645


DA Special Assistant- DDA Lisa Kahn- Special Assistant to Steve Cooley- deals only with public policy and office-wide expert in science issues on DNA cases

If something weird or experimental is going to be done on your case, call Lisa....





Court Orders and Sample Cellmark Conference Log


1. Order to send and package stuff and send it to your lab


2. Order to do a blood draw or take a buccal (cheek) swab of your client and send it somewhere





























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