PHOENIX— The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is informing the community about a recent article put out by the Associated Press office in Phoenix in reference to the recent ruling on prosecutorial immunity preventing depositions in a lawsuit filed by Leslie Merritt Jr.
The story was filed on August 8th and included the sentence “The criminal case against Merritt was dismissed at the request of prosecutors after an expert said the Department of Public Safety's crime lab incorrectly concluded that ballistic evidence linked Merritt's gun to four of the 11 shootings in late August and early September of 2015.”
The Office contacted the reporter about the article mischaracterizing the expert’s conclusions, but was told the story would not be changed to reflect our concerns.
The expert referenced in the story was Lucien Haag, his report includes this analysis:
THE FOUR (4) EVIDENCE BULLETS, AF1, DW1, KG1 AND KG2 COULD NEITHER BE EXCLUDED OR IDENTIFIED AS HAVING BEEN FIRED IN THE HI-POINT C9 PISTOL, SERIAL NUMBER P1893054. THE AREAS DEMONSTRATED BY MR. KALKOWSKI ON FEBRUARY 29th AND ILLUSTRATED IN THE NOTE PACKAGES IN HIS VARIOUS REPORTS ON THESE SHOOTING INCIDENTS, IN THE OPINION OF THIS EXAMINER, WERE INSUFFICIENT TO CONSTITUTE AN IDENTIFICATION.
It is important for our community to know that our expert indicated in the report that he could not reach the same conclusion as the lab, not that the crime lab did anything incorrectly as reported by the Associated Press. We feel that this is an important difference in the language and needs to be reflected.