Today the Star-Ledger published a story on the county’s new crime lab director. Reporter Ryan Hutchins was fair and balanced and I believe he did a great job as a journalist.
However, I am a government watchdog and we need to report things differently. I am posting this information because I believe the public has a right to know, a need to know, how their government is operating. I have major concerns about our county prosecutor’s office. I believe politicians are controlling him and that jepordizes our public safety and our liberty. That is my strong opinion.
Unlike last year, the freeholders didn’t pass a resolution this year to continue the 70 year-old plus Prosecutor’s service under NJSA 43:15A-158(a) (“on an annual basis”), perhaps the state attorney general’s office sent the required notice. The fact that they denied the freeholders involvement with reappointing him last year is suspect. The fact that they went about it differently this year is also telling. There has been no public announcement of it, what’s the secret?
I’ve heard many stories of alleged abuse of power with Theodore Romankow’s office. The Musicfest investigation comes to mind as well. I know from personal experience that something is very wrong when someone in authority can send two state agents to a private citizen’s home on a simple administrative matter involving paperwork for non-profit status. The state admitted that these agents are usually used for more serious things, like investigating terrorists groups. Gee, is the county terrified of me?
If a crime lab can be the arm of the prosecutor who is the arm of a political machine, that is worrisome on many levels. In order for our justice system to work properly, a crime lab needs to be conducted with unbiased science.
The Ledger article today mentioned Matthew Gabriel’s past in a San Francisco crime lab, I strongly recommend that you read up on this yourself. One San Francisco Weekly article excerpt quoting a whistle blower:
Under Gabriel’s leadership, Barlow believed, the SFPD’s DNA analysts had come to see themselves as an arm of the district attorney’s office in criminal prosecutions, rather than as unbiased scientists. “They’re so interested in doing a test and getting a result that they’d rather have poor data than no data,” she says.
Now consider how we came to learn about the county’s crime lab and its new leadership.
On Sunday, January 22, 2012, I posted the new position control changes and noted:
This needs more looking into: New Confidential Assistant’s salary is higher than the department director he reports to. A new position has been created for a Matthew Gabriel who joins the county payroll as a confidential assistant to the public safety office of director with a salary of $123,000. The public safety Director is Andrew Moran, his salary is $113,793. A quick glance at the county payroll shows new hire Gabriel is making more than most department heads. At this writing I don’t know who Gabriel is or where he came from.
After I posted the above on Sunday and asked for this guys resume in an OPRA the county puts out a press release on that Monday about how great he is. Turns out Matthew Gabriel was really running the forensics lab for the prosecutor.
Furthering my interest is that this guy’s been on the payroll for months and now coinciding with my inquiry the county decided to put out a press release about him. They must think I’m an idiot. Besides, even idiots can use Google.
Quote from their press release: “Matt brings a great wealth of experience, common sense, and a keen scientific mind to the forensic laboratory,” said Prosecutor Romankow. “The laboratory is in capable hands and has a new reason for residents to be proud of this great resource.”
This led me to Google Matthew Gabriel.