Tag Archives: Dr. Fessessework Guale

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Toxicology Expert Discredited and Cases Are in Jeopardy

Toxicology expert, Dr. Fessessework Guale, has been accused of lying on the stand. The cases in which Dr. Guale has testified are now in jeopardy.

Gaule’s Degree

Dr. Guale claimed to have a Masters of Science degree in Toxicology from Oklahoma State University. However, according to a notice sent by the Harris County District Attorney’s office, “Dr. Fessessework Guale of the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences may have testified in past trials that she received her Master’s (sic) of Science degree in Toxicology when, in fact, she received her Master’s (sic) of Science degree in Physiological Sciences (with coursework and research in toxicology).” The District Attorney’s Office is now requesting that defense attorneys review 10 years of their DWI cases to search for erroneous testimony from Dr. Guale.

Dr. Guale’s resume shows that her degree is from a veterinary college and that her doctorate is in veterinary medicine from an Ethiopian veterinary school. Guale has been employed since 2006 with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, which is the county’s medical examiner’s office. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences says that its hiring manager should have noticed Dr. Guale’s degree discrepancies on her resume and job applications. That manager left the office before this controversy surfaced.

Jeff McShan, spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, has stated that prosecutors are still trying to determine how many cases Guale testified in as an expert. Records from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences show that Guale has testified in 33 cases dating back to 2011.

Responding to the questions about her credentials, Guale stated, “I did not lie. It’s just a misunderstanding. I actually told the truth.” When questioned about her claim to have a Masters in toxicology, she responded, “My Masters is in Physiological Sciences which toxicology is a sub-discipline of.” Guale also noted that she is board certified in forensic toxicology and claims that the basic science behind the effects of alcohol is the same in animals and humans. Guale’s expert witness testimony has been about defendants’ blood alcohol content.

Community Response

The Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (HCCLA) is requesting that criminal charges be brought against Guale for perjury. Commenting on Guale’s resume, HCCLA President Tyler Flood has stated, “That’s a lie, she has a masters in physiological sciences… But when you look closer it doesn’t relate to humans.” Flood also opined, “It’s very disturbing because there are people who are charged with felony offenses … and they can be convicted and go to jail or prison based on her testimony. And she’s not qualified to be talking about this subject.”

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences stated that Guale is being retrained and that it remains confident in her abilities. It has stood behind Guale, stating that she has taken part in continuing education in forensic toxicology and “has earned certification by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology reflecting her knowledge, training, and experience in forensic toxicology… Dr. Fessessework Guale is fully qualified to hold her current position … and to provide expert testimony in court.”

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Questions Surrounding a Houston Toxicology Expert Witness Raise Doubt on DWI Convictions

Several Houston area DWI convictions have come under review after a toxicology expert witness had her credentials questioned following a recent trial. The expert has defended herself and her work, however, defense attorneys have asked the Houston DA to conduct a thorough review of past convictions and to remove her from testifying as an expert witness during future DWI trials.

Houston Toxicology Expert Witness Has Credentials Questioned

An expert witness in toxicology who has taken the stand in hundreds of Houston DWI cases since 2006 has had her credibility and qualifications come under fire after defense attorneys noticed her degree does not reflect the specialty upon which her testimony focuses. Dr. Fessessework Guale works as an expert in toxicology with the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences in Houston, and has built up a reputation as a noted witness over years of testimony in DWI and other felony trials. Dr. Guale entered the field by claiming she had a Master’s of Science degree in Toxicology from Oklahoma State University, but some digging by a local defense attorney uncovered inconsistencies in her record.

According to Tyler Flood, who is president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association, Guale has misrepresented her qualifications and put her expert testimony in serious doubt. Research by Flood revealed that Guale’s degree is actually in physiological sciences, which could include toxicology research, however, Guale’s studies in toxicology focused largely on animals rather than humans. Flood found these revelations to be significant, telling reporters, “She has flat out stated and testified under oath, I have a Master’s Degree in Toxicology, and that is not the truth … She has lied to the crime lab that she works at, she’s lied to prosecutors, and she’s lied to judges.”

In addition to potentially seeking criminal charges against Guale for the deception, Flood and other criminal defense attorneys have asked for her resignation, for a thorough review of all the DWI cases in which she has testified as a toxicology expert witness, and for the DA to stop using her as an expert witness in trials.

Toxicology Expert Defends Herself Against Allegations of Deception

Speaking to reporters at her home in Houston, Dr. Fessessework Guale defended herself against the allegations that she had lied to prosecutors and judges about her qualifications as a toxicology expert witness. According to Dr. Guale, the matter is simply a “misunderstanding,” and she has the necessary qualifications to take the stand as an expert in toxicology. Guale told reporters, “My training is in toxicology but the degree says physiological sciences, which is a big area which toxicology is a sub part of it … It’s called a sub discipline.” She did not address concerns that her toxicology focus was on animals while she studied at Oklahoma State.

Her employers at the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS) released a statement which supported Dr. Guale’s qualifications to testify as a toxicology expert witness, but noted it would review her education and training in light of the allegations against her. In its statement, the HCIFS noted that Guale had participated in toxicology training and received certification by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology “reflecting her knowledge, training, and experience in forensic toxicology.” Pending completion of the review of her prior testimony and educational qualifications, Guale has been reassigned and may require re-training before she can continue to testify in court.

Houston DA to Review Impact of Toxicology Expert Mix-up

Attorney Tyler Flood and several other Houston area defense attorneys have called for a complete review of all the cases in which Dr. Guale testified as a toxicology expert witness. The Harris County DA released a statement which said its office is in the process of assessing which cases Dr. Guale’s testimony may have impacted the verdict and will proceed with a formal review accordingly. Attorneys representing clients who were convicted after trials which featured Guale have been asked to contact the DA, but whether or not the issue will result in convictions being overturned remains to be seen.

Attorneys for Jaime Flores, who was convicted of being intoxicated and causing a fatal car accident in part due to Guale’s toxicology expert testimony, have announced that they will file a motion for a new trial based on the revelation about her qualifications and education. Given that Guale has undergone training in toxicology analysis, the miscommunication about the precise nature of her degree may have minimal effect on most of the prior cases she worked on. However, her reputation has come under serious fire and she could be dismissed from future testimony as a toxicology expert in DWI trials.