Defense attorney is first in Michigan to get acquitted client’s blood samples returned

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“Would you want your blood stored in a crime lab?”

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, cell: 248.260.8466, barbara@eafocus.com

Southfield, Mich.— Jan. 29, 2015 — Neil Rockind, founder of Southfield-based criminal defense law firm, Rockind Law, is the first attorney in Michigan to get an acquitted client’s blood samples returned.

According to Rockind, after blood samples of his client were drawn and tested, the client was acquitted of Operating While Intoxicated-second offense. However, in this and many crimes like it where the individual is cleared, the blood samples remained in the possession of the Michigan State Police and stored in a crime lab.

“Would you want your blood samples stored in a crime lab and not know when the police could use those samples again to help solve future crimes?” Rockind asked. “Who is to say in a week, month or years down the road when the police are looking for a suspect, they won’t start running tests against all the blood samples in the lab. It’s this unknown factor that infringes on people’s rights – and it’s wrong.”

Rockind ultimately retrieved the blood samples of his client this week after obtaining an order compelling the Michigan State Police Department to do so.

“Initially, the department refused and claimed the blood drawn from the client belonged to the prosecuting agency or the arresting agency,” Rockind said. “However, there is no law supporting the department’s claim. The department also claimed there is a policy that all blood samples must be kept for two years, with no distinction or exception for persons acquitted of a crime. Again, we found no law supporting that.”

Upon receiving the returned blood samples, Rockind and another expert in blood alcohol testing examined and thoroughly inspected the blood samples, vials, seals, labels, contents and topper. Because this is the first incidence of a tested sample and tubes being examined, Rockind and others were examining them for a variety of different reasons and comparing the observations with prior testimony offered by lab chemists.

“Jurors never see the actual vials and blood sample in a court of law during a trial,” Rockind said. “Lab technicians bring in empty kits and vials, but not the actual vials. Yet, the actual vials reveal a lot. Quite candidly, this examination has already revealed several areas of concern that will be raised in future trials.”

Separately, Rockind noted there is a conflict in the ability of the state to process blood tests under the timelines set by the courts and guidelines that instruct judges when to resolve and how fast to try cases.

“Some courts insist that misdemeanor cases be handled in 60 days from the time the individual is arrested to the time a ruling is made in court,” Rockind said. “However, this limited amount of time makes it difficult to fully investigate and defend some cases. Many times blood test results are not returned and the defense is not in a position to actually order the records to challenge the blood draw. This creates a conflict that needs to be resolved to address the time constraints of both the judge and the criminal defense team.”

About Rockind Law
Rockind Law is a Southfield, Michigan-based criminal defense law firm aggressively pursuing justice for adults and juveniles facing criminal charges, including white collar crime and school discipline matters. To find out more about the firm’s services and resources, visit http://www.rockindlaw.com/.

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