Here’s how Houston’s forensic failure could affect murder case of Migos rapper Takeoff and nearly 400 other cases

Criminal Defense Attorneys give their perspective on Houston Forensic Science Center issue

HOUSTON – A former forensic analyst from the Houston Forensic Science Center is in the hot seat, accused of improperly handling evidence in nearly 400 cases. One of the key cases is the murder of Migos rapper Takeoff.

KPRC2′s Re’Chelle Turner spoke with Defense Attorneys Rick Detoto and Anthony Osso Jr. Both attorneys are former prosecutors who had similar responses on the issue involving the Houston Forensic Science Center.

“It is a domino effect, a minor hiccup that affects 400, hundreds of cases at a time. It is going to cause a docket backlog. You have got to think that now that there’s this issue that’s been identified, the prosecutors are going to have to either retest the evidence or have the evidence reanalyzed. And as a result, there is going to be motions for continuance on both the prosecution side and the defense attorneys as well, and they’re going to be resetting cases,” Attorney Osso said.

One of the cases involves the murder of Migos’ rapper Takeoff and his accused killer Patrick Clark. The Harris County DA’s office informed Clark’s attorney about the forensic analyst’s termination last month for their “lack of quality of work.”

Attorney Rick Detoto is not associated with the case.

In this situation where she is accused of doing this, would it almost help someone who is accused of murder or something really, really bad?

“It very well could help a defendant that is charged with a serious case, whether it’s DNA or blood or any type of chemical testing. The biggest issue is you need to find out what this person’s role was in the case. And did they actually, you know, withdraw the evidence? Did they, you know, put it in the tubes and put it in the testing machine? Those are the things we have got to find out. The prosecutors, all they simply have to do is say, ‘hey, this happened, we are giving you notice.’ But that is just the very beginning. The hard work comes when we start looking at the details and start pulling all the evidence and finding out, you know, what testing procedures the person did. So, it very well could help,” Attorney Detoto said.

What does this mean for some families seeking justice?

“Yes, it’s a nightmare for defense lawyers, and it’s also a nightmare for the families that are involved in these cases that are seeking justice. It’s going to cause delays,” Detoto said.

Could this help someone accused of a bad crime if we do not know what all evidence was being correctly processed?

“Sure, Re’Chelle, so that is an interesting question. I do not know whether it will hurt or help. I think as a defendant and as a defense attorney, I want to make sure that whatever evidence comes in against any of my clients follows protocol and procedures, and that there’s integrity behind it,” Osso said.

What is a Brady Notice?

“So, it looks like the allegations are that she may have switched samples. And with a lot of work that we have, criminal defense lawyers, in dealing with DNA and samples regarding chemical testing, that is the worst thing that could happen. So, in that situation, the prosecutors have an absolute duty to notify the defense lawyers that there is evidence in this case that may tend to show that the person is not guilty or impeachment,” Detoto said.

How do you think judges will handle this issue?

‘Well, I do not think there’s going to be a blanket procedure. I think that each judge will independently handle it in their own manner, but I think they recognize there’s already a backlog. And so, they will allow the prosecutors time to remedy the issue, but I think there is going to be a lot of pressure from the judges on them to get it done and get it done quickly,” Osso said.

This problem is going to add to the case backlog that is already a huge problem. Families who have been waiting for justice in their loved one’s case could have to wait even longer.

We do not know if these are murder, assault, or rape cases, but as reporter, it’s my passion to keep you informed and find solutions to your problems.

If you or someone you know is being impacted by this issue, please reach out to me so I can share your story. My email is

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