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NC crime lab says some analysts didn't pass certification exam

Posted June 14, 2012

The director of the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory is letting district attorneys across the state know that some lab analysts have not passed a certification test that's required by state law.

Director Joseph John said Thursday that approximately a third of the 75 lab analysts – who test blood, DNA and other evidence in crimes – who were eligible did not pass a December certification exam that's required under state law.

They have until December to pass the test, John said, but he wants prosecutors to be aware of the matter in case defense attorneys use it to try to discredit analysts in trials.

"I have absolute faith in the quality, quantity and accuracy in the work being done here," he said.

In a memo Wednesday, John said the test results are considered confidential personnel information but that attorneys can access the information under a court order.

District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Thursday that he believes the analysts are experienced and that many have been qualified in court as experts for years.

Some NC crime lab analysts didn't pass certification exam Some NC crime lab analysts didn't pass certification exam

"If there is some issue, we want to fully disclose it and make sure everybody has an opportunity to ask any questions that they need to about it," Willoughby said. "I think the issue is really a red herring."

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, whose office ultimately overseas the state crime lab, released a statement Thursday afternoon:

"We believe North Carolina is the only state in the country to require this additional test for crime lab analysts, and I’m proud of the work they do helping to solve crimes and exonerate innocent suspects."

John said the memo was intended to go out on Jan. 13, but due to what he calls an "internal communication glitch," he wasn't sure if it was ever sent.

After realizing that some prosecutors' offices might not have received the memo, he sent the new letter Wednesday.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wayneboyd Jun 15, 2012

    Why should they be held responsible for certification?
    Doesn't our education system from pre school through college teach our young people that whatever is achievable for you will have to surfice for your fellow man. I can only imagine what this is going to cost taxpayers in the long run.
    Shut the entire place down, allow LEO so do their own lab work, get a chemestry set from Radio Shack and stop wasting our time and money.

  • Lamborghini Mercy Jun 15, 2012

    They didn't pass the certification, yet I bet my life on it, they were all paid as if they passed. What really gets me is the fact District Attorney Colon Willoughby said Thursday that he believes the analysts are experienced and that many have been qualified in court as experts for years... I guess it "never" occurred to him that as technology advances, you'll need update training and requirements to provide NC citizens, and victims with quality service, especially in a CRIME LAB.

  • piene2 Jun 15, 2012

    I see a lot of new appeals on the near future.

  • SailbadTheSinner Jun 14, 2012

    If you REALLY want the State Lab to be credible, then double blind the incoming data and allow ANYONE to use the facilities.

    ONLY if this done can a prosecutor - and a jury - be assured that the results of the Lab is not biased….


  • mfarmer1 Jun 14, 2012

    When Someone Is Not Qualified To Do A Job, They Should Not Be Doing That Job Until They Become Certified. This Only Allows Guilty People Go Free.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jun 14, 2012

    Did they attend the public schools with the One-Size-All Curriculum and er'vry body goes to college..
    Just wondering....Givem the one of those 200 calculators..

  • superman Jun 14, 2012

    This is no different that requiring teachers to pass the National Teachers Exam which is required for teacher certification. Perhaps the state should also drop this requirment as some teachers are experienced and good. How about all the other professions that want their personnel to have some type of professional certification? Lawyers have to pass the state bar. Real estate people have to pass their state exam.