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Discredited state blood analyst makes final bid for reinstatement

Posted October 9, 2014

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— A blood analyst fired almost four years ago from the State Bureau of Investigation on Thursday took his final shot at winning his job back.

The state Human Resources Commission heard Duane Deaver's appeal of his January 2011 termination.

In his nearly 25-year career at the SBI, Deaver went from being a rising star – he was the go-to guy for blood stain analysis – to being a lightning rod, the symbol of a system accused of withholding evidence.

A 2010 independent review of the crime lab concluded that SBI analysts had frequently misstated or falsely reported blood evidence in about 200 criminal cases during a 16-year period ending in 2003. Some of the most egregious violations found were linked to Deaver.

Deaver's lawyers argue that the SBI made him a scapegoat while the agency was under legislative and public scrutiny for the policies and procedures of the state crime lab, noting that SBI officials never included those allegations in their decision to fire him.

The agency cited the following findings to determine that he had violated agency policies:

  • The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission accused him of intentionally misleading the panel during a 2009 hearing on Greg Taylor, who was later determined to have been wrongly convicted in a Raleigh murder case.
  • At the end of a 2009 video demonstration of blood spatter analysis in a case, he said, "That's a wrap, baby."
  • While on leave in late 2010 while the SBI investigated questions of his performance raised in the outside review of the crime lab, he didn't notify his superiors or seek their approval before assisting a criminal profiler in filing a formal complaint against a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent who was providing a profile in a western North Carolina case.

Attorney Philip Isley argued Thursday that a grievance committee of Deaver's peers decided the actions didn't warrant firing.

"They came to the conclusion, which we agree with, that Mr. Deaver was inappropriately terminated, no just cause existed and he should be reinstated," Isley told the Human Resources Commission.

Special Deputy Attorney General Charles Whitehead countered that SBI leaders and an administrative law judge backed the termination.

"I believe all of these issues taken as a whole lead to a proper determination of just cause dismissal," Whitehead said.

The Human Resources Commission has many options. It can uphold the firing, reinstate Deaver or provide back pay and retirement benefits. A decision is expected in two to three weeks.

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  • disgusted2010 Oct 10, 2014

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    Deavers never lied. He was lied about. Wake up people this is a ploy by a liberal Attorney General, to cover his backside AND a ploy by a bunch of liberal lawyers and the anti police, pro crime media to discredit Deaver to free Michael Peterson.

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Oct 10, 2014

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    He was doing what government higher ups instructed him to do.

    His mentality goes beyond Deaver way back in wake county. Former governor Easley, the former wake DA, current SBI employees, even the wake sheriff all encourage this mentality.

    It is what happens when you mix law enforcement and politics, the constitution takes a back seat to convict at any cost..... .

  • dollibug Oct 10, 2014

    It seems that Wake County has more corruption and cover up than the public needs and that getting *convictions* instead of *seeking the truth and providing justice* is what is targeted. It is sad when a person thinks they must *plead guilty* to a crime that they are NOT GUILTY of so that they will get a lesser sentence for a crime that they are NOT GUILTY to begin with. There is something really sad about the direction that so many *government run agencies* are taking. What happened to *justice*? There are a LOT OF ISSUES which need to be and should be addressed and lots of changes that can improve our state.

  • Paul Donovan Oct 10, 2014
    user avatar

    Reinstatement ? The guy should be sent to prison for falsifying evidence that caused many others to spend time in jail.

  • A person Oct 10, 2014

    This Deavers guy certainly values himself quite highly for someone who lied to get convictions. We don't want people who have to lie and send innocent people to prison to make themselves look good on the state payroll, or even in the same state as us. For that matter, we would ask that he leave the continent ASAP. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this matter Duane