Over the last several months, details have continued to emerge related to the state's former Chief Medical Examiner. Dr. Richard T. Callery has already been fired and may eventually face criminal charges related to his alleged misconduct while holding the position. There are thousands of drug convictions that may be overturned in Delaware due to Callery's actions while he was the Chief Medical Examiner. In addition to the thousands of drug cases that his office handled and potentially mishandled, his work as a pathologist may also impact several cases that are being treated as homicides.  

Delaware Online reports that there may be at least six cases in which Callery performed autopsies that are now being called into question. Prosecutors are bringing in outside experts to review his work and testify in his stead. But criminal defense attorneys "are challenging the state's attempt to fix things by bringing in a surrogate, charging that doing so violates the defendants' constitutional right to directly confront witnesses against them." The report continues by asserting that "In at least one case argued before Superior Court Judge John A. Parkins Jr. on Wednesday, Callery's finding that a death was a homicide is key to the entire prosecution."

Since Callery is no longer considered an expert witness to be called upon, many of these cases may be difficult to prosecute. Furthermore, Callery's work on the cases is being called into question for his alleged lack of rigor in practicing standard procedures. Many of the questions about his work constellate around his absence as a manager of the office and his "moonlighting" for other agencies including some outside of Delaware.

While details surrounding Callery continue to emerge and he may ultimately be exonerated of the most serious charges, the case does serve as a reminder for the public and anyone who may be facing criminal charges: law enforcement officials can make mistakes and behave in negligent or criminal ways.  Criminal defense attorneys have a duty to identify such behavior so that the constitutional rights of the accused are always paramount.