Lawyer wants lab news release as evidence

Attorney Brian Griffin outside courtroom in the DWI Attorney Brian Griffin outside courtroom in the DWI vehicular assault case. (Feb. 17, 2011) Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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A lawyer seeking a new trial for a drunken-driving defendant argued Friday that Nassau officials have been more candid in a news release than in court about problems at the county crime lab.

"You stand up before the public and make a statement, you ought to stand behind them in court," said Brian Griffin, the defense attorney for a Hicksville woman trying to win a new trial based on unreliable crime lab results.

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Griffin pointed to a sentence in the news release that referred to possible misconduct by lab personnel affecting "the entirety of the lab."

But in court, Assistant District Attorney Maureen McCormick opposed Griffin's efforts to get the news release admitted as evidence in his fight to get Erin Marino, 30, a new trial on charges she slammed into a minivan while driving drunk.

"This is grandstanding," McCormick said.

The latest hearing in Marino's effort to get a new trial came on the same day that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed the state's Inspector General Ellen Biben to investigate the shuttered crime laboratory.

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In arguing before Nassau County Court Judge George Peck against admitting the news release, McCormick said the lab was closed after problems with testing of "controlled substances" and not blood testing. She also said a news release would be "hearsay" in the court proceedings.

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