Local News

Firing of discredited state blood analyst upheld

Posted August 26, 2014

Duane Deaver listens to testimony on April 2, 2014, during an administrative hearing to determine whether he can reclaim his job at the state crime lab. The State Bureau of Investigation fired him in January 2011 for violations of agency policy.

— An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that the State Bureau of Investigation was justified when it fired a blood analyst three years ago who had been highlighted in an audit that found blood evidence was misstated in scores of criminal cases.

Duane Deaver's appeal of his January 2011 termination now heads to the state Human Resources Commission. Attorney Philip Isley said Deaver is disappointed with the ruling and is working on the next stage of his appeal.

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.

Administrative Law Judge James Conner II wrote in his 22-page ruling that the SBI was deliberate and thorough in its review of Deaver's conduct before firing him. He found that Deaver's conduct was unprofessional and violated SBI policies, and he dismissed claims that Deaver was a scapegoat, noting others also would have been disciplined if the agency was trying to deflect criticism.

Deaver "exhibited a distasteful disregard for the judicial system of this state," Conner wrote.

"The filing of a contempt motion by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission was repeatedly treated dismissively, referred to as 'mere allegations.' The filing of perjury allegations by a member of the N.C. State Bar seemed beneath (Deaver's) contempt," the judge wrote. "None of this reflects well on (Deaver), who was seeking reinstatement to a position of trust in service to our system of justice."

In addition to reinstatement, Deaver is seeking back pay and benefits he believes he is entitled to receive. He noted in a deposition he filed in his case that his family and friends are helping pay his legal fees and that he worked at a $9-an-hour job at an AgriSupply store after he was fired. He now works in the hospital supplies and services business in Texas.

27 Comments

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  • LetsBeFair Aug 27, 2014

    this guy was doomed when he got that job. if he stuck to the facts he'd have been fired, if he manipulated the facts to suit the crime he'd be fired ... no win situation bub.

  • recontwice Aug 27, 2014

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    You arent even including the settlements from the lawsuits for false imprisonment etc!!

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Aug 27, 2014

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    It's loose enough. You tell me/everyone why convicts have been freed and dozens more are awaiting a review based on the fact he lied/fabricated/skewed and he hasn't been charged with a crime. You think falsifying those results isn't against the law? Not one more!

  • less_govt_is_better_govt Aug 27, 2014

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    For once we agree!

    Too many prosecutors these days go for convict at any cost vs find out the truth.

    They would rather get another notch on the conviction belt then let the actual truth come forward.

  • lsdhome Aug 27, 2014

    Too many lawyers, too many appeal routes, too many weasel words in state personnel "policy"... State of NC needs to learn how to fire people so they stay fired.

  • Tim Blanchard Aug 27, 2014

    He should be in jail finishing out the sentences of all the people that he wrongly convicted.

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Aug 27, 2014

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    Because it would be hard enough to prove he intended to falsely report as well as the fact that a ton of prosecutors would go down with him and there's simply to much money in the juducial system that keeps crooked people from facing the music. If he and everyone involved were charged/tried the courtrooms would be practically empty the next day

  • Greg Boop Aug 27, 2014

    Good riddance. There are a large number of people locked up in prison who will need to be retried due to Deaver's behavior. These re-trials will cost North Carolina a huge sum of money.

  • babylaceycarpenter Aug 27, 2014

    Why is Deaver not being charged? Did he not break any laws? I am not being sarcastic. I am not an attorney. I am asking for someone who actually knows the answer to my question.

  • SAY 'WHAT" ONE MORE TIME! Aug 27, 2014

    View quoted thread


    Reading comprehension is a grand thing. You should try it....again

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