SAN FRANCISCO—According to the District Attorney’s Office, Justin Volk, a former Forensic Laboratory Analyst in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), was charged with theft and receipt of stolen property. “Both crimes are alleged to involve evidence belonging to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner,” said the SFDA’s Office in a news release.
“When we first learned of Mr. Volk’s misconduct, my office worked quickly to review all convictions in cases in which he was involved. In addition to ensuring conviction integrity, we are now seeking to hold Mr. Volk accountable for violating the trust the public places in those who handle evidence related to criminal cases,” said DA Chesa Boudin.
According to a statement issued by the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office in 2020, Volk was arrested by the authorities for allegedly stealing an envelope that contained narcotics “bearing labeling and evidence tape from the SF OCME Lab” between June 14, 2020, and August 31, 2020.
“This alleged misconduct first came to light on August 31, 2020, when Mr. Volk was arrested after a vehicle stop in Utah,” said the DA’s Office.
The authorities said they conducted a search of Volk’s vehicle and discovered that Volk had “narcotics in evidence bags marked and labeled by OCME.”
The DA’s Office indicated that a subsequent search of Volk’s vehicle revealed that the narcotics found in Volk’s possession was methamphetamine that Volk “collected during a death investigation by OCME and stored in OCME’s Evidence Room.”
“As part of his duties,” the DA’s Office noted, “Mr. Volk had unrestricted access to OCME’s Evidence Room.”
A list of about 823 different cases were published that could have been “impacted by Mr. Volk to provide transparency and empower those whose cases may be affected.”
The SFDA’s Office are “individually reviewing” the cases that Volk had in his possession to make sure that “no conviction or punishment has been improperly tainted.”
The San Francisco News reached out to the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office for a comment and Sandy Feinland, the Managing Attorney of Forensics at the Public Defender’s Office replied, “The charges against Mr. Volk reflect how serious a violation this is to the public trust and serve as a reminder of the widespread mismanagement of Medical Examiner’s Office. Misconduct by individuals who handle evidence in criminal cases — in which freedom hangs in the balance — cannot be tolerated.”