Trouble for Lubbock Medical Examiner: prosecutors disclose credibility issue

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Sam Andrews 720

The office of Lubbock County District Attorney on Friday disclosed information to Lubbock area defense attorneys about the credibility of the medical examiner.  

In a letter dated February 15, Chief Prosecuting Attorney Barron Slack said, “You are receiving this disclosure because you are currently assigned to or hired as defense counsel, or have been counsel, on a criminal case in Lubbock County where DR. SAM ANDREWS is a witness for the State of Texas.”

Andrews was appointed as the Lubbock County Chief Medical Examiner last year. The county signed a contract with the company Andrews represents, NAAG Pathology.  Andrews and former Chief Medical Examiner Sridhar Natarajan were both made the subject of a Texas Rangers investigation earlier this month.

Specific allegations against Natarjan have not been publicly disclosed. 

More is known publicly about at least one issue with Andrews.  Slack’s notice included a transcript from Andrews in the Bryan Canchola murder trial in Austin in 2017.

Andrews was the pathologist in that trial and changed his testimony.  

“I’m disgusted, obviously,” the judge in that case said.  Andrews, he said, did not use “best practices” when performing the autopsy.  

The judge did allow Andrews to testify but ultimately murder charges were dropped and Canchola was sentenced to six months for assault.

An attachment in the notice from Slack indicated Lubbock County’s Civil Division Chief, Neal Burt, was provided a copy of the transcripts on August 9, 2018.

More recently, the Texas Medical Board subpoenaed records from Dr. Andrews and EverythingLubbock.com has confirmed that TMB is conducting an investigation.  

The following is a copy of Slack’s notice to local attorneys:

February 15, 2019

To:  MEMBERS OF THE DEFENSE BAR

RE:       Disclosure concerning Dr. Sam Andrews

You are receiving this disclosure because you are currently assigned to or hired as defense counsel, or have been counsel, on a criminal case in Lubbock County where DR. SAM ANDREWS is a witness for the State of Texas.  

In observance of our obligations as prosecutors under the Texas Rules of Professional Conduct, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 39.14 and current caselaw, we are notifying you of this because it is our belief that it might be used as material for possible impeachment and/or character evidence at trial.  
Sincerely,

______________________________
Barron L. Slack
Chief Prosecuting Attorney                
Lubbock County, Texas

Related Stories: Continuing Coverage – accusations against the medical examiner’s office

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