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Attorneys: Scottsdale crime lab employees knew about faulty equipment

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SCOTTSDALE, AZ (CBS5) -
The Scottsdale Crime Lab is coming under more scrutiny after a judge threw out key evidence in several DUI cases because of a potentially faulty piece of equipment in that lab. Now new information is surfacing about how much the employees knew about the issue.

We first told you about this issue in April. Local attorneys said hundreds of DUI cases will now be called into question because old software was installed on a new blood testing machine in the crime lab.

And now those attorneys tell us the employees knew there was an issue with the equipment, but kept using it anyway.

"There's probably 2 1/2 years of litigation on this wall," said attorney Mark DuBiel. He said new information coming to light indicates Scottsdale Crime Lab employees may have known about the equipment potentially impacting blood test results.

"Not only is the machine not trustworthy, the people working in the crime lab are not trustworthy," DuBiel said, referring to emails obtained through a request for public information.

In an email exchange in March of this year, the crime lab's technical leader emails the manufacturer, asking them to correct the software issue because it's been causing problems for them in court despite testifying 10 days earlier that there is nothing wrong with the machine.

In another exchange in November 2012, the head of the crime lab writes she does not have much confidence in the crime lab's technical leader.

And in another, in May of 2012, someone with the manufacturer of the blood testing machine writes a crime lab analyst, thanking him for raising concerns about the piece of equipment. But the same crime lab employee testified in April - nearly a year later - that the machine is, in fact, working properly.

"The crime lab is intentionally not disclosing that," said attorney Craig Rosenstein. He said he's working nonstop to see how many cases could be affected by this.

"The crime lab itself engaged in a series of deceptive maneuvers that were intended to not allow people to know about the significance of the machine," Rosenstein said.

The Scottsdale Police Department said they stand by the crime lab, telling us they pass the rigors of accreditation, which includes an evaluation of personnel and their procedures.While they said the blood testing machine in question has been put out of commission, they said the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will be appealing the judge's ruling.

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