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Posted on Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 5:50 a.m.

Rise & Fall: Detroit Tigers and Michigan State Police crime lab

By Paula Gardner

Editor's note: This column has been revised to clarify that the delay between the crime and the arrest was not due to a three-year backlog in the crime lab testing.

One revived baseball pride across Michigan - and gave us hope for a World Series victory. The other is so severely backlogged that at least one local criminal was set free even as there's untested evidence that he needs to be charged in an additional crime.

Here are our picks for Sunday's winner and loser from the news.

Rise: Detroit Tigers

It doesn’t take much to add superlatives to the description of their four-game rout of the New York Yankees. But their success with the league championship series is a good time to recall that the past season wasn’t a beeline to the World Series. This is a team, manager and administration that suffered some performance downturns and public doubt. We like that this month’s success follows challenge, since it’s all the more sweet knowing that this team overcame obstacles to reach it.

Fall: Michigan State Police crime lab

This is a state office that performs crucial work for the criminal justice system - and a lot of it. But the circumstances of a 2009 rape in Ypsilanti Township illustrate just how backlogs in the system can stall law enforcement. DNA evidence turned over to the lab after the crime recently was linked to a 40-year-old Ypsilanti Township man after three rounds of testing. So nearly 3.5 years after the crime, a man faces charges. Problem is, this man also served a prison sentence for two years in the interim - and was released. We need the work done in the lab; we also need it in a timely fashion, so that victims and those accused can see a speedy resolution to cases that use DNA evidence. The state already took steps to change the lab's structure - here's hoping those changes accomplish that goal.

(Rise and Fall appears regularly on's opinion page. To make a suggestion for this column, email us.)



Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 1:19 p.m.

Hire more crime lab people!

Matt Tuck

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 6:31 p.m.

More lab workers and more labs. I think there are 2 or 3 State wide that are shared by many law enforcement agencies

Tom Todd

Sun, Oct 21, 2012 : 2:17 p.m.

Walter White will need to paid accordingly unless people advocate just to pay Jesse Pinkman