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: DC091460 DR. CHRISTOPHER NULF (represented by Attorney Raul Loya) vs. SOUTHWESTERN INSTITUTE OF FORENSIC SCIENCE (SWIFS) AND DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS (indirectly represented by Attorney David Alex) ...and criminal proceedings: F0873084V THE STATE OF TEXAS (represented by Attorney David Alex) vs. STANLEY VERNELL LEDBETTER (represented by Attorney Lori Ordiway) Judicial District Court 292nd of Dallas County, Texas. (Witness testimony, December 17-23, 2009) (Civil) Attorney Raul Loya, (Appellate Defense) Attorney Lori Ordiway, and (State Prosecutor) Attorney David Alex are the lawyers alleged of ethical misconduct. Three different complaint documents have been submitted specific to each of these attorneys, but each document should be cross-referenced with the others to accurately ascertain the entire sequence of events that occurred. BACKGROUND I was employed as a forensic biologist at the Dallas County Crime Lab (aka The Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science, SWIFS) from March 2008 to May 2009. Due to observed scientific misconduct within the crime lab, I wrote a number of internal memos, spoke with Investigator James Hammond (Investigator with the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, Conviction Integrity Unit), and wrote reports to the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) and the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) describing the various scientific and protocol violations occurring. I was terminated from the lab shortly after notifying external authorities of the on-going unresolved scientific problems in the crime lab. My wrongful termination from the crime lab lead me to hire civil Attorney Raul Loya (contracted July 27, 2009 – see attached) who proceeded to file a Letter of Intent to Sue (dated August 6, 2009 – see attached) followed by a Wrongful Termination/Whistleblower Civil Law Suit (filed October 21, 2009 – see attached.) At the encouragement of Attorney Raul Loya, several local news stations were notified of the Wrongful Termination/Whistleblower Law Suit which subsequently lead to television and newspaper publicity1.
Thursday December 17, 2009 Late in the evening, I was handed a subpoena (see attached) at my residence by an Investigator for Defense Attorney Lori Ordiway to appear in court the next morning to testify (a 13 hour notification). I called my Attorney Raul Loya that night who stated that he would file a motion to quash the subpoena citing inadequate time for witness preparation, among other arguments. As it turned out, a motion was never filed2. In a brief phone call to Attorney Lori Ordiway that night, she informed me that my testimony would be in support of her argument that the Dallas County Crime Lab was using inadequate scientific practices and that the Defendant’s prior legal representation should have been informed of these questionable scientific practices. I, of course, was adamantly against providing witness testimony because of my pending civil litigation against SWIFS (whom Attorney David Alex was defending in the criminal proceeding). In my opinion, because Attorney Lori Ordiway knew very little of my background or experience within the crime lab (and was not concerned with protecting or defending my information pertaining to my civil litigation) and because Attorney Raul Loya was not allowed to speak or object during my testimony in criminal proceedings, my testimony under direct examination and cross-examination would be used as a means to gain information to impeach my credibility for the pending civil law suit. I viewed this legal tactic as an unfair advantage for the crime lab in the pending civil proceedings and thus a compromise of my constitutional rights to due process. It is wholly unethical to use a criminal proceeding to gain information from a witness for pending civil matters involving that witness. Friday December 18, 2009 Per the subpoena, I arrived and waited at the court house until Attorney Lori Ordiway informed me later that afternoon that my testimony was suspended until Monday morning. Attorney Raul Loya did not appear at the court house to assist me even though several phone calls requesting his presence were left at his office. Monday December 21, 2009 Attorney Raul Loya, again, did not appear at the court house to assist me even though several phone calls were left at his office. A motion to quash the subpoena was not presented. As a result, I was assigned a court-appointed defense attorney (Public Defender) who informed me that I have a right to exercise my Fifth Amendment Rights not to speak. In an attempt to help Attorney Lori Ordiway with her argument of questionable scientific practices within the crime lab (in exchange for my testimony), I presented her with an internal
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.01 Competent and Diligent Representation ... (b) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not: (1) neglect a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer; or (2) frequently fail to carry out completely the obligations that the lawyer owes to a client or clients. (c) As used in this Rule neglect signifies inattentiveness involving a conscious disregard for the responsibilities owed to a client or clients.
document from the crime lab, a SWIFS Corrective Action Request (see attached -- CAR #07-007. I obtained it via a Public Information Act-Open Records request from SWIFS in the Summer 2009.) Attorney Raul Loya was fully aware of the contents of the document but wanted to save the damaging information for the forthcoming civil proceedings. I verbally explained to Attorney Lori Ordiway (as I had explained to Attorney Raul Loya, previously) the contents and the important aspects of the document as it applied to the arguments of her case (and my subsequent testimony), including:
1. The Trace Evidence Lab and offices of the crime lab were discovered to be contaminated
2. with blood (evidence of an inept SWIFS Management at maintaining the integrity of the evidence inside the crime lab.) The document does not state the root cause of the blood contamination and that blood contamination still occurs within the lab uncontrollably. The document only states when blood contamination was first reported by the analysts, and not when it first occurred. This suggests that blood contamination within the lab could have been occurring over an extended period of time and that thousands of evidence items could have been contaminated prior to the discovery. The document does not state that evidence examined in the lab PRIOR to the date of discovery of blood contamination must be subjected to DNA analysis to ascertain if blood contamination in the lab has been occurring for an extended period of time (on a large number of evidence items)—i.e., a retroactive examination. The document does not state that a particular course of action is initiated in the event contamination is discovered within the "monitoring" time-frame. All evidence examined within the "monitoring" time-frame in which blood contamination in the lab is found must be subjected to DNA analysis to ascertain whose blood has contaminated the lab during this time-frame (and possibly other evidence items). The term "remediated" is not defined within the CAR. Dr. Tim Sliter (Chief of the Physical Evidence Section at SWIFS) is the responsible individual listed for initiating and completing the CAR. He signed and dated the document when the actions described within were completed. The document has a 16 month time-lapse between being initiated (by Dr. Tim Sliter on 07/16/2007) and completed by other superiors at SWIFS (signed 11/25/2008.) Because this CAR was incomplete prior to 11/25/2008, any PIA-Open Records Request for this CAR by Criminal Defense Attorneys and Prosecutors prior to this date would have gone unfulfilled (The absence of this document suggests the absence of contamination in the lab.) Per my PIA-Open Records Request for "...All Corrective Action Requests ("CAR") forms from 2001-2009...", no other CARs pertaining to blood contamination in the lab were received from SWIFS. This suggests that either no other CARs were initiated and completed when "...Trace levels of blood are occasionally detected and remediated...", or the documents were never sent to me (violating the Public Information Act). My name is not associated with the document. However, I was employed at SWIFS as an analyst during the time period that the document was “open” (I was employed from March 2008 to May 2009. The document was signed and “closed” on November 25, 2008.)
6. 7. 8.
And most importantly...
11. The document was not initiated in July 2007. The document was actually created in November 2008 and backdated to July 2007 by Dr. Tim Sliter. Factually, SWIFS Quality Manager Karen Young did not begin employment at SWIFS until the Fall of 2008. Therefore, her name would not be printed at the bottom of the page. Moreover, the blank form of the document (v2.4 printed at the bottom of the page) was not created until November 1, 2008. The blank form for CAR documents initiated before November 1, 2008 are formatted differently. Because all members of the SWIFS Executive Committee signed and dated this document on 11/25/2008, this is conclusive evidence of fraud perpetrated by the entire Management at SWIFS. Attorney Lori Ordiway subsequently photocopied and presented the document to Attorney David Alex. (Dr. Tim Sliter, the author of the CAR #07-007 document, was acting Expert Consult and therefore not required to testify at the criminal proceeding.) Because Attorney Raul Loya was not in attendance and unavailable to assist me with a testimonial strategy, under the advice of a court-appointed Public Defender I was forced to exercise my Fifth Amendment Rights to the disappointment of the court. (I was threatened by the judge with contempt of court if I did not participate with testimony.) Attorney David Alex subsequently was prepared to grant me Use Immunity (see attached) in exchange for my testimony for the next day. I, of course, wanted to refuse Use Immunity because the allegations it presented were completely false. In my opinion, accepting Use Immunity is tantamount to admission to the criminal activity described whereby testimonial immunity is needed (ironically, in this case, tampering with a government document). That is, if I committed no crime then I would not need immunity. However, for reasons unexplained to me by any of the Attorneys, I was forced to accept Use Immunity and proceed with witness testimony. Tuesday December 22, 2009 and Wednesday December 23, 2009 Attorney Raul Loya finally appeared at the court house but gave no explanation as to his absence the previous two days. He also made no explanation as to his failure to file a motion to quash the subpoena. Because Attorney David Alex was granted me Use Immunity to testify, which I objected to, I was required to take the stand. Attorney Raul Loya made no attempt to object to the Use Immunity. Attorney Raul Loya’s only advice for me for testimony was to give truthful, but brief, answers. I was told to minimize the amount of information, and not elaborate with explanations to answers unless specifically asked by Attorney Lori Ordiway or Attorney David Alex. During my testimony, Attorney David Alex revealed the existence of a secret audio recording between me and an Investigator for the Dallas County DA’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit, Jim Hammond, describing the poor scientific practices occurring within the crime lab while I was employed at the lab. This unknown evidence was extraordinarily important for my forthcoming whistleblower civil trial, yet Attorney Raul Loya inexplicable failed to obtain a copy even after I reminded him to obtain it.
During my testimony, Attorney Lori Ordiway stated that she made several attempts to contact my Attorney Raul Loya in order to elicit my assistance with her case prior to trial. Attorney Lori Ordiway continued to list a long series of dates of the numerous unreturned phone calls she made to Attorney Raul Loya. I, unfortunately, was not notified by Attorney Raul Loya that Attorney Lori Ordiway was attempting to contact me for assistance prior to trial. Had I known that my assistance was needed for a criminal proceeding, I most certainly would have provided support, either with a sworn affidavit, incriminating documents, or other informational leads. Also during my testimony, Attorney David Alex proceeded to use the fraudulent information in the SWIFS CAR #07-007 (the date: July 2007) to prevent me from providing an opinion on the contents of the document (stating that I was not employed at the crime lab in 2007; therefore, I would have no knowledge of the events described in the document). Attorney Lori Ordiway made no attempt to object to the deliberate oversight of Attorney David Alex during his cross-examination. And, to my knowledge, Attorney Raul Loya made no attempt to report the deliberate prosecutorial misconduct of Attorneys Lori Ordiway and David Alex regarding the fraudulent presentation of the SWIFS CAR #07-007 document3. If I had known that Attorney Raul Loya was ultimately not going to fulfill the obligation of his profession (his services were dismissed in April 2010 – see attached), I would have been more forthcoming during testimony with information regarding poor scientific practices inside the lab for Attorney Lori Ordiway and her defendant (i.e. information that was going to be used in my forthcoming civil trial). I would have presented more documents and more evidence of the problems within the crime lab, which in turn, could have impacted numerous past and pending criminal cases. As it stands, the problems in the crime lab have not been addressed. July 27, 2009 – April 27, 2010 -- The Services of Attorney Raul Loya Attorney Raul Loya demonstrated enthusiasm the first few months of representing me. However, his interests soon faded after the publicity surrounding the initiation of the civil law suit subsided. Over time, I noticed a series of “oversights” on his behalf where his work products were failing to reach me. That is, vital information that I should have been notified of were not given to me. For example, after Attorney Loya filed the Wrongful Termination/Whistleblower Law Suit (October
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.03 Candor Toward the Tribunal (a) A lawyer shall not knowingly: ... (2) fail to disclose a fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act; ... (4) fail to disclose to the tribunal authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the lawyer to be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing counsel; or (5) offer or use evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. (b) If a lawyer has offered material evidence and comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall make a good faith effort to persuade the client to authorize the lawyer to correct or withdraw the false evidence. If such efforts are unsuccessful, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures, including disclosure of the true facts.
21, 2009), he failed to provide me with an actual copy of the law suit even after I requested it via email “reminder”. Moreover, I never received a copy of Dallas County’s response to the civil law suit. Except for the Letter of Intent to Sue (see attached) written by Attorney Raul Loya, I received no other documentation from Attorney Raul Loya while he was acting as my attorney. I was given no indication that he was performing any work at all. Several phone messages that I left with Attorney Raul Loya also went unanswered. The following is only a partial list of dates of attempted communications between Attorney Loya and myself:
Emails from me to Attorney Raul Loya 03.29.2010 03.23.2010 03.02.2010 01.26.2010 01.25.2010 01.24.2010 01.07.2010 12.29.2009 12.21.2009 12.19.2009 12.19.2009 12.17.2009 12.15.2009 11.11.2009 10.24.2009 10.22.2009 10.21.2009 10.21.2009 10.21.2009 ... Return emails from Attorney Raul Loya to me (within the same time frame) 03.02.2010 10.22.2009 ... Phone calls to Attorney Raul Loya (214-521-8766) – messages left 02.18.20104:47 pm 1:20 sec 02.10.20106:36 pm 0:35 sec 02.09.20105:07 pm 0:28 sec 02.09.20102:17 pm 0:31 sec 02.04.20106:26 pm 0:16 sec 02.04.20104:55 pm 0:20 sec 01.20.20105:09 pm 1:52 sec 01.20.20103:25 pm 0:20 sec 01.20.20102:38 pm 0:48 sec 01.20.20102:12 pm 0:04 sec 01.20.20102:07 pm 0:03 sec 01.13.20106:30 pm 0:23 sec 01.13.20104:18 pm 0:16 sec ... Phone calls to Attorney Raul Loya (214-682-4800) - unanswered 02.18.20104:46pm 0:05 sec 02.10.20106:36 pm 0:01 sec 02.09.20102:17 pm 0:06 sec 02.04.20104:53 pm 0:06 sec 01.20.20102:37 pm 0:05 sec 01.20.20102:08 pm 0:07 sec 01.13.20104:17 pm 0:13 sec ... Return phone calls from Raul Loya to me (within the same time frame) none ...
While in my services, I was under the assumption that Attorney Raul Loya was contacting and getting statements of corroborating witnesses. I had supplied him phone numbers of those people to contact within the lab. In addition, other corroborating witnesses had contacted him independently because of the publicity surrounding the case. This was not done (as determined by the lack of information in my Client File). I was also under the assumption that he was following through with the time-sensitive Discovery process, as I had supplied him with at list of documents to obtain from the crime lab (which included the secret audio recording, trial transcript, and the documents produced by Attorney David Alex during my witness testimony). This was not done either (as determined from the lack of information in my Client File). Attorney Raul Loya made no attempt to discharge me as a client4 other than failing to respond to numerous emails and failing to answer repeated phone calls5. As a result, I had no choice but to terminate the attorney-client relationship on April 27, 2010 (see attached). Alternative legal representation with Attorneys Mike Howard and Chad West was contracted on May 1, 2010 (see attached). They obtained my Client File from Attorney Raul Loya. Attorneys Mike Howard and Chad West proceeded to inform me that I had not met a technical hurdle for whistleblower status per the Dallas County Code. Specifically, as explained in a document received by Attorney Raul Loya from the Dallas County Human Resources Director Mattye Maudlin-Taylor (dated October 27, 2009 -- see attached), there is a 7-day time limit within to file a grievance against my employer after employment termination. Thereafter, any grievance is considered untimely and void. This new information lead to the subsequent filing of a non-suit (see attached) by Attorneys Chad West and Mike Howard. I only discovered this important document AFTER I had recovered my Client File from Attorneys Chad West and Mike Howard (AFTER submittal of the non-suit). This factual information was not presented to me by my previous Attorney Raul Loya. Both the Letter of Intent to Sue (see attached) and the Wrongful Termination/Whistleblower Law Suit (see attached) written by Attorney Raul Loya ignored this Dallas County Code requirement. If I had known this information, the option of filing an official Dallas County Grievance against my former employer could have occurred following the discovered knowledge of the audio
Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.16 Declining or Terminating Representation ... (b) Except as required by (a), a lawyer shall not withdraw from representing a client unless: (1) withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client; ... (d) Upon termination of representation, a lawyer shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, including giving reasonable notice to the client. Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.03 Communication (a) A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. (b) A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation.
recording during testimony under the “unless it is beyond the control of the employee” statement in the Dallas County Code. Had I known that Attorney Raul Loya was ultimately not going to fulfill the obligation of his profession, I would have dismissed his services much earlier and pursued a different legal strategy for civil litigation against a wrongful termination of employment. CONCLUSION Attorney Raul Loya’s ethical derelictions have created a “snowball effect” of irreparable damage to any wrongful termination/whistleblower claims I had legal right to pursue. In addition, many criminal proceedings surrounding my claims of poor scientific practices within the crime lab have also been tainted with a perceived unwillingness to participate on my behalf. Problems within the crime lab have yet to be resolved. Inasmuch as a single questionable ethics violation by a single attorney would have compromised constitutional rights to due process and a fair civil and criminal proceeding, the collective actions of the ethically bankrupt Attorneys Raul Loya, Lori Ordiway, and David Alex (see attached complaints) most certainly have destroyed any chances of receiving a fair trial and is, by definition, a corruption of justice.
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