Superstorm Sandy left the NYPD with a huge headache by swamping a pair of warehouses holding huge amounts of evidence. The storm surge breached the warehouses and sent some of the thousands of barrels containing DNA evidence into the muck, possibly contaminating some and creating a mess that has made evidence currently irretrievable for many cases due to come to court, the New York Times reports.
In at least six recent trials, police have had to testify that their evidence is currently inaccessible. "The government may well be fashioning plea deals based upon the lack of underlying evidence," the chief lawyer for the Legal Aid Society says. "We can ask if it’s there, but they don’t have to tell." The storm may have been a lucky break for some criminals, but lawyers for the Innocence Project fear that DNA evidence that could exonerate the wrongfully imprisoned may have been lost forever.