Monroe County Crime Lab director fired over improper crime lab practices | Crime
The Monroe County Crime Lab Director fired just hours after a scathing report from the acting state inspector general. That report found improper and irresponsible practices by Janet Anderson Seaquist at the crime lab.
The report found that many criminal cases may have been put in jeopardy and key evidence destroyed as a result of decisions made by Anderson-Seaquist.
The county has known for a couple of weeks that this report was coming. That is why Anderson-Seaquist was initially put on administrative leave. Only a few hours after News10NBC learned what was in it, she was gone.
Anderson-Seaquist was named to head up the Monroe County Public Safety Lab just two years ago as the department was getting ready to move into its new building. But the report says she mishandled her position almost from the start.
The New York Inspector General found Anderson-Seaquist and a top member of her staff made a unilateral decision that 270 criminal cases pending forensic evidence review could not be tested because they were timed barred. The lab then returned the evidence to the various law enforcement agencies, telling them the cases were beyond the statute of limitations to prosecute. As a result, many of those police agencies destroyed the evidence.
According to the report, the district attorney’s office did a review and determined the statute of limitations had not expired in at least 41 of those 270 cases.
Anderson-Seaquist is not an attorney and apparently did not solicit any legal advice before deciding to reject the evidence.
Monroe County Public Safety Director Stephen Bowman said, “This afternoon, after consulting with Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Ms. Janet Anderson-Seaquist has been terminated from employment with Monroe County. We no longer have confidence in her ability to run the crime lab.”
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said, “I’m pleased with the report. Obviously, the inspector general did a very thorough job investigating what was going on over at the lab.”
In her response to the report, Anderson-Seaquist said she took responsibility for the reports, but denied responsibility for the destruction of the evidence, claiming it was in the custody of those police agencies. Further, the inspector general says she said the police departments should not have relied on the lab’s legal determinations because they aren’t attorneys.
Bowman says they are working hard to address the issues they were raised in the report and they have already put together a corrective action plan to make sure there are more checks and balances in the system. But they can’t go back and retrieve the lost evidence and unfortunately, there are some cases that the district attorney’s office will not be able to prosecute.