Winner 2003

Evidence of Errors


KHOU-TV’s investigation, Evidence of Errors, executive produced by David Raziq and reported by Jerome Gray and Anna Werner, uncovered serious and surprising mistakes made by the Houston Police Department’s DNA crime lab. As a result of these errors, innocent people went to jail and some, guilty of crimes such as rape and murder, went free. After initially reviewing cases involving DNA and other forensic testing done by the Houston Police lab, KHOU-TV enlisted the unpaid help of nationally known forensic scientists and experts to review the lab’s testing procedures and results. In part as a result of the investigation into the lab’s errors, which some called “the equivalent of a scientific train wreck,” widespread changes have occurred, not only in Houston, but also in the state of Texas. These include closing the facility, re-examining over a thousand DNA samples from past cases, removing key officials including the lab’s director, a police chief, and the Chief of Police from their positions, creating new state laws regulating crime labs, creating an “Innocence Commission” designed to help the wrongfully imprisoned, and overturning a young man’s 25-year prison sentence. For its persistence in an investigation with far-reaching implications, KHOU-TV receives a Peabody for Evidence of Errors.