Local News

Judge: SBI report was 'intentionally misleading'

Posted March 10, 2011

— A State Bureau of Investigation report in the murder case of a Durham man was prepared in an “inaccurate, incomplete and intentionally misleading manner,” a Superior court judge wrote in his ruling to throw out the charges.

Judge Orlando Hudson threw out the case against Derrick Michael Allen in December after a defense attorney argued that the SBI violated Allen's rights by not sharing everything it found in blood tests.

Hudson’s written ruling was made public on Thursday afternoon.

Allen, 31, was charged in 1998 in the death and sexual assault of a 2-year-old girl. An autopsy showed the girl died of shaken baby syndrome.

His case was among 200 cases that an outside audit said were mishandled by the SBI. The audit revealed agents failed to report correct blood evidence in the cases.

Hudson was critical of SBI Agent Jennifer Elwell, who is now suspended, and former Assistant District Attorney Freda Black saying the two "decided to stop further testing of items for DNA testing because they believed further testing of physical evidence of the case would not prove inculpatory to the defendant Derrick Allen and could possibly inculpate others."

Current District Attorney Tracey Cline was also mentioned in the ruling. Hudson wrote that Black and Cline “knew some information they intentionally failed to disclose was exculpatory information and that their suppression of favorable material information was a violation of Mr. Allen's Constitutional Rights.”

Black defended herself Thursday against Hudson’s statements.

“I disagree with the judge's ruling as it applies to me. I have not misrepresented myself before any court in 25 years of being an attorney which includes the Derrick Allen case,” she said.

Hudson also noted evidence that has been destroyed or is missing since the case started.

"It is no longer possible for Mr. Allen to ever receive a fair trial,” he wrote.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson Judge: SBI report was 'intentionally misleading'

Hudson wrote that Allen was coerced into entering an Alford plea with the threat of the death penalty. In an Alford plea, the defendant accepts responsibility for the crime without admitting guilt.

Allen has maintained his innocence and, because of questions raised by the audit, he was released on bond in September after spending more than a decade in prison.

Prosecutors have said they worry other cases will be dismissed because of troubles in the SBI's blood-analysis unit.

SBI Director Greg McLeod said Thursday that the testing and reporting methods used in the Allen cause are no longer used.

“As noted in the judge’s order, the SBI Crime Laboratory provided the bench notes as part of discovery in 1999 in addition to providing the lab report. The testing and reporting methods at issue in this case were phased out nearly 10 years ago and replaced with modern DNA technology. Because the decision to appeal is up to the district attorney, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further,” McLeod said in a statement.


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  • astonished Mar 11, 2011

    wildcat - is that you Judge Hudson?!?

  • OpenM1nd Mar 11, 2011

    The man isn't innocent; he's getting off on a technicality via a very liberal judge.

  • wildcat Mar 11, 2011

    ALL the other evidence against Allen.

    Whatever....I hope the courts free him to make a point to the SBI!

  • astonished Mar 11, 2011

    Wow wildcat, angry much? This case is more about prosecutorial misconduct than any "issues" with the SBI. Think back to when this hearing was conducted, the ADA assigned to the hearing realized that during the original prosecution, materials were not turned over to the defense by Black and Cline, so he did the right thing and turned everything over. The prosecution (Black and Cline) had all the information back then, but chose not to turn it over. So what did this ADA get for righting their wrong? He was fired by Cline, who is now the DA.

    The DA's office screwed this case up, NOT THE SBI. And Judge "Let Em Go Orlando" Hudson was all too happy to ignore ALL the other evidence against Allen.

  • wildcat Mar 11, 2011


  • astonished Mar 11, 2011

    bill0 - the testing did not prove there was no blood. A negative confirmatory test simply means the scientist cannot say it is definitely blood. This "negative" means the substance may or may not be blood.

    This confusion is caused by inaccurate reporting in the media (especially the N&O who don't care whether they got the facts right as long as they get to push their story).

    The fact is that this man was alone with the baby right before she died, doctors testified she had extensive tearing to her genitals and was suffering from shaken baby syndrome. The blood testing was not the only evidence used in his conviction, and in my opinion, not even the most damaging to his claims of "innocence".

    Watch Duane Deaver's interview: http://www.wral.com/news/local/wral_investigates/video/9244821/#/vid9244821

  • dchurn2 Mar 11, 2011

    Dare107 you need to read the article. The defendant never admitted guilt. He pled to a "alford plea" (which accepts penalty without an admission of guilt) under theat of Death Penalty. I assume you beleive in the constitution. Your anger should be directed at the SBI & others who put forth false evidence. BE GLAD IT WAS NOT YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW who was prosecuted. IF this was state of Texas we would be talking about innocent people were put to death, because the SBI was to lazy to do their job.
    Heaven knows where the actual killer is and what he or she has been doing during this time!

  • nighttrain2010 Mar 11, 2011

    >>Prosecutors have said they worry other cases will be dismissed because of troubles in the SBI's blood-analysis unit.

    Yes, Lord knows we can't let any actual innocent people out of jail!! If there's a problem with the SBI, the cases have to be reviewed. We still want the truth in this state don't we? Or is it just about the conviction rate?

  • bill0 Mar 11, 2011

    For those that haven't followed the trial, this is not a simple case of new DNA technology providing more evidence.

    This man was charged with raping 2 year old and shaking her to death. The key piece of evidence was "blood soaked" underwear. The only problem? There was no blood. The SBI tested the garment multiple times and found that the substance wasn't blood.

  • RM24 Mar 11, 2011

    If this guy is not guilty of the crime then he needs to be set free/released. Someone did shake this baby to death. It does appear it is difficult to compare the way DNA was tested 10 years ago to how it is tested today.