Colorado’s star forensic scientist, Yvonne “Missy” Woods, EXPOSED for alleged data fraud – those she sent to prison now want their convictions reexamined
03/19/2024 // Ethan Huff // Views

One of the largest scandals in forensic DNA testing is unfolding in Colorado where a veteran forensic scientist abruptly quit her post last fall amid allegations that her data compilation methods are fraudulent.

Yvonne "Missy" Woods worked as Colorado's star forensic scientist for nearly three decades supplying police and prosecutors with DNA testing data in some of the most high-profile and baffling crimes in the state's history – that is, until she resigned in late 2023.

An internal review into Woods' work revealed anomalies so severe that a criminal probe was launched. What many are now wondering is: Is Colorado's criminal justice system legitimate?

In order to answer that question, the state says it needs to review and retest about 3,000 DNA samples that Woods handled. The end result could be thousands of cases thought to have been solved having to be looked at a second time, public defenders warn.

Those convicted based on Woods' potentially corrupted DNA findings could end up suing the state, and prosecutors are now bracing for this onslaught. The state has also allocated nearly $7.5 million in preparation for these possible retrials and case reviews, along with retesting.

"This is a huge, unprecedented mess," said George Brauchler, a former district attorney in the Denver suburbs whose office oversaw numerous cases in which Woods testified. "I want to know: What in the world did she do?"

(Related: Did you know that the world's first Ebola "vaccines" were injected into patients in Colorado?)

Cutting corners?

By all appearances, Woods cut major corners in her data analyses. And this corner-cutting appears to have put many people behind bars who may not belong there because the actual data, had it been compiled and analyzed correctly, does not incriminate them.

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On the other hand, many actual criminals may have been let off the hook because of Woods' malfeasances, this being a really bad look for the state of Colorado and its criminal justice system.

"She continues to stand by the reliability and integrity of her work on matters that were filed in court, and particularly in cases in which she testified in court under oath," Brauchler added.

While it is currently unknown what revelation prompted the review that led to these findings, we know that investigators are digging deep as the investigation is taking a long time with no indication as to when it might be complete. We also do not know if criminal charges will be filed once everything is said and done.

We do know, however, that Woods committed fraud by altering data in some cases, this according to a December 5 email sent to district attorneys across the state. Woods also analyzed some samples numerous times, in some cases, but only reported one result.

As of December 5, investigators had not uncovered any evidence that DNA evidence provided by Woods was inaccurate.

"CBI Forensic Services continues to review all cases worked by Ms. Woods during her 29-year career," wrote lab director Shawn West in the email. "The CBI is utilizing all available resources to expedite this process."

Colorado prosecutors' biggest fear is that Woods' shoddy and fraudulent work could result in one of two nightmare scenarios: One being the possibility that Woods' cases resulted in a wrongful conviction, and the other being that criminals correctly put behind bars will have to be retried because of her poor DNA testing methods.

"The impact to the confidence and integrity of the justice system – and the work that is going to be required on these cases – is really significant," commented Michael Dougherty, Boulder County's district attorney.

"We will undoubtedly see defendants who've been convicted rightfully and justly trying to use this issue to their advantage."

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