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California AG Drops Case Against SFPD Drug Lab Worker

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) -- The California Attorney General's office has decided not to prosecute Deborah Madden, a former San Francisco Police drug lab employee accused of stealing cocaine from the lab.

"After an exhaustive evaluation, our lawyers determined that no additional charges would be filed," said Christine Gasparak, spokesperson for Attorney General Jerry Brown.


The Attorney General's office was brought in to investigate the case because the San Francisco District Attorney's office was in the middle of the controversy, and wanted to avoid a conflict of interest.

The Attorney General's office notified San Francisco Police in early December that the case would not go forward, but the decision was not made public until now.

Police Chief George Gascon said the case was dropped without explanation.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed," said Gascon. "We believe we presented a good case, but it's a complex case."

Earlier this year, police released recordings of Madden admitting to investigators that she had taken small amounts of cocaine. Police said they found cocaine inside Madden's San Mateo home that was wrapped inside the same kind of rare paper used at the SFPD crime lab.

San Francisco prosecutors ended up throwing out more than 600 drug cases because Madden had played a part in examining the drugs.

San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu said he was shocked at the Attorney General's decision to drop the case.

"Obviously, none of us are within the attorney general's office to assess their decision but I for one am extremely surprised and disappointed that justice didn't seem to be done in this case," said Chiu.

Madden's attorney, Paul Demeester, told CBS5 his client is "very happy" to learn of the District Attorney's decision.

He acknowledged that Madden confessed to investigators.

"She admitted to five times having used residue," said DeMeester.

"Residue that was on its way to the trash can, basically. And in California you cannot prove a case by an individual statement. You have to have corroborating evidence. So that was the proof problem that the Attorney General faced."

Madden still faces charges for cocaine possession in San Mateo County.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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