State News

Legislators get more info on lab accreditation

Posted September 30, 2010

— Leaders at North Carolina’s crime lab say there are controls in place now to ensure its blood and DNA results are accurate and complete.

The State Bureau of Investigation made presentations Thursday to a legislative panel examining problems recently uncovered in an independent report about practices with blood test results from 1987 to 2003.

The review found 190 cases that resulted in convictions in which SBI agents in the crime lab's blood-stain analysis unit omitted, overstated or falsely reported information about blood evidence.

Since the report was released last month, the crime lab director has been replaced, and Attorney General Roy Cooper has ordered audits of other parts of the lab.

Mike Budzynski with the SBI’s forensic biology and DNA section on Thursday discussed testing procedures since 2003. Lab work undergoes a peer review to ensure protocol and conclusions are proper, he said.

Committee co-chairman Rep. Rick Glazier said after the meeting it appears the lab has raised the bar as new technology and tests have developed, but he said there are still areas for improvement.

"There are changes in protocol. There are changes in the number of requirements. Now, whether those changes are institutionalized remains an open question that we've got to have answered," said Glazier, D-Cumberland.

Committee members again asked about the feasibility of making the crime lab independent of law enforcement. New SBI Director Greg McLeod said he's still waiting to see if the FBI will agree to do spot audits on the lab.


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  • hatesmondays Oct 1, 2010

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. All of you have made my day. God Bless you all.

  • PleaseGodhelpus Oct 1, 2010

    Didisaythat I believe that you are right. All sorts of different organizations are using this as a stepping stone to help only themselves. Defense attorneys are using it to get old cases brought up, different accrediting agencies (who work for defense attorneys) are using this to make themselves look good by making the sbi look bad. The N&O is using this story to try to save their failing newspaper.
    The state will be making a HUGE mistake by creating an independent lab. It opens a can of worms. Most national crime lab training is for sworn personal only. Who knows what the hiring procedures will be, and just as stated in a previous comment, more of a temptation to skew results. I believe Roy Copper has gone bear hunting with a switch. He is in way over his head.

  • PleaseGodhelpus Oct 1, 2010

    I do not work for the SBI but have a good working knowledge of serology. This is all about the Takayama test. Crime scene investigators everywhere have field test kits that they would use to field test substances they believed to be blood. Although these kits are not 100% accurate that are very close. When a substance would field test positive for blood it would be sent to the lab. An analyst would perform the Takayama Test. If the substance was positive it you could say with scientific certainty it was blood. If it didn't, it didn't mean it wasn't blood. There are a number of reasons why you would get a "false negative."The most common reason for a false negative was an insufficient sample. The SBI would then write in the report that the sample showed "chemical indications of blood" referring to the field test kit. Just like the Gregory Taylor case, blood evidence plays just a part. The media forgets the week of testimony prior to the blood evidence being questioned.

  • didisaythat Sep 30, 2010

    Can anyone tell me if what was supposedly uncovered with the tests, if it did anything to the cases. Everything I read said the testers would put test performed were inconculsive. Now I was not involved in the investigation, but if I was the investigaor, i would not think that information helped my case. So the investigators used other evidence to prove the person was the suspect. I may be wrong, but that is what I have gotten from the investigative reports. Sorry sounds like Defense Attorneys trying anything to get the client off. Including making up stuff and let the media and liberal and anit-police try and discredit agencies. JUST MY OPINION.

  • burnhace Sep 30, 2010

    Here's a novel idea. How about placing a scientist with no political aspirations in charge of the lab. Someone with a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline related to the work. How about that? If (s)he needs an MBA, hire one to work for him/her.

  • Sherlock Sep 30, 2010

    Another white wash getting ready to take place.