90 cases dismissed by DA's Office after evidence mistakenly thrown away

By Jennifer Bauer - Reporter

HOUSTON - The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said 90 criminal cases will be dismissed after a deputy constable tossed out crucial evidence connected to those cases.

The deputy had been with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office for 14 years. Constable Mark Herman confirmed to Channel 2 that he fired the deputy for violating policy.

Back in January, the deputy was told to “clean out” the property room because it was getting full, but evidence connected to current cases that needed to be preserved was destroyed instead of old evidence.

Herman said they learned of the mistake in late March and immediately notified the DA’s Office.

Paul Morgan, a criminal defense attorney whose client was directly affected by this, told Channel 2 he got a phone call from someone working at Precinct 4 after he subpoenaed evidence from them.

“He tells me over the phone that the meth that had been seized had been destroyed, the syringes in the container had been destroyed,” Morgan said.

His client faced 25 years to life and almost took a 6-year plea deal. Now, the case has been dismissed.

“I believe the email said 25,000 pieces of evidence since 2007, that’s what’s under investigation right now,” said Morgan.

Ten members of the DA’s Office have been assigned to look into incident.

The biggest question remains, how could something like this happen?

“Rookie mistake,” said Channel 2 legal analyst Brian Wice.

“One of the problems in the criminal justice system is we recruit from the human race and there’s going to be human error.”

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2