Appalling: “New Study Finds That State Crime Labs Are Paid Per Conviction”

I just posted a few days ago about the many scandals of state police forensic labs that have been found to employ corner-cutting or shoddy methods in the course of obtaining positive identifications and convictions. What I didn’t realize is that — according to a new paper by Roger Koppl and Meghan Sacks in the journal Criminal Justice Ethics — many crime labs actually are paid by the conviction. That practice goes on in states that include Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia. If we incentivize false-positive identification, should we really be surprised when it happens? [Radley Balko]


  • […] And according to a new paper, it turns out that many state police labs are actually paid per conviction, a practice that tends to incentive […]

  • Just a warning that the article is behind a paywall and if you don’t subscribe, they want $37 for it.

  • […] In other words, there’s no monetary incentive to be honest.   The problem is discussed here at and by Radley Balko here; both of which rely on the work of Roger Koppl and […]

  • The paper is posted here, free, by Roger Koppl.