September 11, 2020
PRESS CONTACT: SF Public Defender’s Office – (628)249-7946 – Valerie.Ibarra@sfgov.org
SF Public Defender Mano Raju’s Statement Regarding the Arrest of SF Medical Examiner Lab Analyst
“The arrest of Mr. Volk casts another dark shadow on the credibility of the Medical Examiner’s Office, and I urge the District Attorney to immediately review the thousands of cases and convictions that relied on his work to determine whether dismissal is required. It is questionable whether the Medical Examiner’s toxicology lab can continue to function when its director cannot pass certification exams nor properly supervise its employees.
My office will be seeking records on Mr. Volk from the Medical Examiner’s Office and demanding an independent audit of the Medical Examiner’s office. This is just the latest in a seemingly endless series of events plaguing the Medical Examiner’s office. Having recently spent over $65 million dollars on a state-of-the-art facility, it is high time San Franciscans had the professional, exemplary Medical Examiner’s Office it deserves.
It’s disturbing that we’re still relying on the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Office to inform criminal cases after years — if not decades — of poor protocols that have led to a loss of national accreditation, substandard work product, and a lack of transparency.
Justice simply cannot happen when the Medical Examiner’s employees — tasked with providing objective and unbiased scientific evidence and opinion — lack integrity.”