FDLE Crime Lab Supervisor Resigns Amid Probe
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has begun the examination of alleged evidence tampering by a former employee in its Pensacola crime lab. On Monday, Joseph Graves resigned as the lab’s analyst supervisor.
Graves’ resignation comes in the wake of allegations that he may have tampered with evidence from the cases. He had been suspended with pay.
Speaking Saturday in Tallahassee, FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey said the probe involves 80 law enforcement agencies in 35 counties, including Escambia and Santa Rosa. The reach is as far south as Monroe County.
“So far, we’ve identified several dozen evidence submissions where prescription drugs were substituted with over-the-counter medications,” Bailey said. “As you know, this has the potential for impacting hundreds of drug cases across our state.”
The drugs were discovered missing from the evidence room at the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office last week. FDLE began the investigation after being contacted by Sheriff David Morgan and Bill Eddins, the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit.
The FDLE lab on North Palafox Street handles about 400 cases per month, such as fingerprint analysis to toxicology results. Eddins says his office will have to analyze each drug case on their own specific facts and circumstances.
“Once that’s done, we’ll make a determination regarding whether or not this matter affects any of those,” said Eddins.
There have been no arrests, but Eddins says criminal charges will likely be filed against Graves sometime this week. Attorney General Pam Bondi is offering to help with the investigation.
Bill Eddins and Florida’s other state attorneys are bound by a code of ethics and a U-S Supreme Court ruling, to disclose the tampering to defendants and their legal counsel. But he adds that it’s too early to tell whether any of them could walk. And at this point, Eddins does not anticipate a grand jury being seated to hear whatever evidence is gathered by the investigation.
In his letter of resignation, Joseph Graves didn’t mention the alleged tampering. But he did ask the FDLE to "forward immediately," any money owed to him.