Madden cocaine case ends with mistrial

Courtesy PhotoDeborah Madden's theft of cocaine from a SFPD crime lab contributed to the dismissal of hundreds of cases that depended on evidence from the unit.

A mistrial was declared Wednesday in the federal case against disgraced former San Francisco crime lab technician Deborah Madden, with only a few jurors reportedly rejecting conviction.

Madden, who has admitted to taking small amounts of cocaine from samples at the lab in 2009, faced up to four years in prison on the federal charge of obtaining the drug by means of fraud, deception or subterfuge.

However, jurors leaving the courtroom told reporters they could not unanimously agree on whether prosecutors proved Madden had been deceptive. At various times during deliberations, they said they split by 10-2 and 9-3 votes in favor of conviction.

A hearing is set for Oct. 12 to discuss future steps, such as a possible retrial.

Madden’s alleged thefts from the lab’s drug analysis unit contributed to the District Attorney’s Office dismissing hundreds of criminal cases that depended on evidence from the unit.

Madden retired in late 2009 after 29 years on the job as a civilian criminalist.

In a separate case, she pleaded guilty in San Mateo County Superior Court last year to possessing a small amount of cocaine found in her Peninsula home. She was sentenced to drug counseling.

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