Lab tech probe in state hands 

State prosecutors say they have a report from the San Francisco Police Department and are evaluating whether to prosecute former lab technician Deborah Madden.

Police, however, say they are still waiting on outside crime labs to do work on a handful of pieces of evidence before they can actually close the case.

Madden was a criminalist who worked in San Francisco’s crime lab and admitted to taking small amounts of cocaine that would otherwise have been thrown away. Police investigated to determine whether more might have gone missing.

Because of the San Francisco connection, District Attorney Kamala Harris asked the state Attorney General’s Office to take over the case in case members of her office had to testify against Madden.

That decision has yet to be made. Last month at a Police Commission hearing, police Chief George Gascón said most of the police investigation had been completed “for several weeks,” but “a couple of items” were still being tested at outside labs.

According to police Lt. Lyn Tomioka, the evidence testing has still not come back.

However, attorney general spokeswoman Christine Espera said the SFPD had “completed their investigation last week and handed us the results, which we are now reviewing.”

The chief is expected to give an update on the situation today to the Police Commission.

This article was corrected Thursday, July 22, 2010. The original article said "Because of the San Francisco connection, the District Attorney’s Office  was pulled off the case and instead the state attorney general was asked to decide whether to prosecute." The corrected version reads as follows: Because of the San Francisco connection, District Attorney Kamala Harris asked the state Attorney General’s Office to take over the case in case members of her office had to testify against Madden.

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Katie Worth

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