In response to the arrest of a forensic laboratory analyst from the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office, District Attorney Chesa Boudin announced Friday that he had a list of law enforcement actions that may have been influenced by the analyst’s wrongdoing.
Justin Volk was arrested by Washington County, Utah sheriff officials on August 31, after they reportedly found an evidence bag and methamphetamine in his vehicle.
Volk, who has worked for the Medical Examiner’s Office for 13 years, was eventually accused by Washington County attorneys of possession of methamphetamine for the purpose of distribution, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Immediately thereafter, Boudin said the arrest of Volk had undermined the credibility of the cases he was involved in.
As a result, prosecutors had to go through some 2,500 cases to determine the extent to which Volk was involved and whether they led to convictions – including 500 death investigations. 1,200 sexual assault investigations; and 800 DIU investigations – to make sure cases didn’t result in tainted convictions or sentences.
Prosecutors have posted a list online of the cases that may have been affected by Volk in order to provide transparency and to allow those whose cases may be affected to review their options. The list will continue to be updated as Volk continues to be investigated, Boudin’s office said.
“My office responded to the allegations against Justin Volk with great urgency and we worked as a priority to review all convictions in cases where he was involved,” Boudin said in a statement. “Ensuring the integrity of our beliefs is of the utmost importance. It is for this reason that we are making this information public as part of our commitment to integrity and transparency in the criminal justice system.”
Boudin’s office has estimated an increase in appeals filings, and new lawsuit filings could cost the district attorney’s office $ 455,731.
Boudin encourages anyone whose information is on the list or who otherwise believes Volk played a role in their case to contact their defense lawyer to discuss options.
The list can be found at https://sfdistrictattorney.org/resources/ocme-case-list.
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