A week or so ago I ranted about how outrageous it is that the State Police Crime Lab took many months to analyze the DNA sample provided by the guy who has now been arrested for the murder of Truro resident Christa Worthington. I urged that this should be unacceptable, and rashly said that the only way to solve the problem was to spend more money on the crime lab (which routinely takes six to eight months to analyze samples). Several comments took me to task for ignoring the role that good old fashioned incompetence seems to have played in the Worthington matter, and I agreed that I shouldn’t have jumped straight to spending more money without considering what we could do by way of eliminating stupidity.
However, the AP is now reporting that the crime lab really is grossly underfunded. According to the article, the lab can handle 300 samples per year – one sixth of the demand, hence the nine-month backlog (the national standard is 30 days). Each of the state’s DAs can only submit four samples per month, and the head of the Mass. DAs association describes DAs as "ludicrously handicapped" in the number of samples they can submit. The article reports that the legislature and Governor Romney have pledged to double the lab’s resources in the wake of the Worthington fiasco.
Good! They should be devoting more resources to valuable institutions like the crime lab (and, of course, they should also be rooting out incompetence). And so I ask again, Governor: how can you responsibly push for yet another tax cut, while simultaneously pushing to double the State Police Crime Lab’s resources? First, tell us what you want the government to do, then tell us how you’re going to pay for it, and then let’s talk about a tax cut. Republicans have turned this debate completely on its head, and until Democrats are able to alter the discourse, they will keep losing.