For nearly 30 years, Yvonne “Missy” Woods was a forensic scientist at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab. She is now under internal and criminal investigation.
Raj Chohan, a legal analyst and attorney, told CBS News Colorado, “The fact that this analyst is not working for the CBI anymore and may be exposed to criminal liability is very telling. It sounds like these allegations are very serious.”
The CBI stated it is meticulously reviewing what it calls anomalies in Woods’ work.
Tristan Gorman, the Policy Director for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association, noted that Missy Woods has testified in many cases, saying, “She is a witness for the prosecution in a number of cases where she worked on DNA analysis and is probably under subpoena in a number of pending trials.”
He added that this could go beyond the outcome of trials, “Not all cases that are impacted have gone to trial. Some of them would have resulted in plea bargains based on the DNA evidence that could now if we find out later, have been tainted at the time.”
A probe of lab procedures is forthcoming, and law enforcement agencies are being notified.
Chohan highlighted, “Prosecutors do have an ethical duty, so if they find trouble with the case that they want a conviction on, and they make a determination that the evidence may be compromised, they do have a duty to let the defendant know about that.”
Outside investigators will be involved. An attorney for Woods issued a statement asserting that her client is looking for a thorough and professional investigation into these allegations and has already communicated her intent to cooperate with the CBI’s inquiry.