Closed Central Florida cases under scrutiny after FDLE evidence breach



FLORIDA - The fallout has grown from the arrest of former Florida Department of Law Enforcement chemist Joseph Graves on charges of stealing prescription pain killers from the Pensacola crime lab where he worked.

WFTV learned at least a dozen Central Florida cases are now under scrutiny because of the evidence tampering scandal.

Public defenders from those cases now have to make contact with each client and inform them of these new problems, then, the client will decide whether they want to appeal.

Ninth Circuit Public Defender Robert Wesley said all of his cases tied to the FDLE breach are closed and some of those clients are in prison.

“We have identified numerous cases from this circuit with our clients,” Wesley said. "I'm looking at about a dozen cases now."

Wesley said he expects that number to shrink once he digs deeper into the cases. 

He also expects some clients convicted by testimony from graves to seek new trials.

"What we always says is, it's not what you know, it's what you can prove.  The fact that the analyst may have weighed 20 pills and identified them as controlled substance, but then stole 19 of them, and substituted it with calcium, they can't prove the 20 pills.  They no longer have the evidence," Wesley said.

If they do have evidence it will all have to be retested and that could come with a hefty price tag for taxpayers.

“We’ll have to use a private entity and it's going to cost $1,000 a case," Wesley said.