The wheels of justice are slowing down in Missouri – one reason is because the state is reducing the ability of its crime lab to process evidence. It’s a chronic problem for the state crime lab, which proceesses evidence from tens of thousands of cases every year. Lab director Bill Marbaker and his 60 employees handle evidence from about 20,000 cases a year – about 60 percent of them methamphetamine cases. Last year, 20 percent of the operating budget was withheld. This year, 15 percent of the core budget has just been eliminated. Marbaker says he could use 20 more people to turn around drug cases in one two two weeks and to complete toxicology cases in two to four weeks. But, he has trouble hanging onto the people he already has. Marbaker says Missouri’s salaries are about 30 percent below salaries his workers can earn in other states or in private industry.
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