State News

Panel makes recommendations for SBI changes

Posted January 18, 2011

— A legislative panel examining North Carolina's crime lab has recommended changes to promote confidence and integrity in the lab's work.

The Joint Select Study Committee on the Preservation of Biological Evidence approved Tuesday a dozen proposals, from requiring lab workers to be certified to creating a special commission to advise Attorney General Roy Cooper on the lab's science and procedures.

They now go to the General Assembly, which reconvenes next week.

The recommendations stem from bad publicity for the State Bureau of Investigation lab and an outside report examining its work. The report — covering a 16-year period until 2003 — found analysts had misrepresented blood work and kept notes from defense attorneys.

The legislative committee rejected 7-9 a proposal that would have made the SBI lab director report directly to the attorney general – a compromise that some members had hoped would help regain the public’s trust in the agency.

Critics of the crime lab have long complained that the lab seeks to build cases to support law enforcement theories rather than seeking the truth.

The panel did, however, agree to changing the lab name to the North Carolina Crime Lab, hoping that would help.

The SBI has asked the General Assembly for $3.94 million in new funding to help with changes.

Legislative panel recommends SBI changes Legislative panel recommends SBI changes

About $2.1 million would replace equipment in the SBI crime lab, $1 million would be used for professional training, $502,000 for system upgrades and $236,000 for outside certification and accreditation.

The SBI has already made some changes to its operations and is making others, including expanding public oversight of the lab.

Last week, Cooper appointed former District Judge Vinston Rozier of Wake County as an ombudsman to handle concerns that arise from the public. Cooper said he also wants a forensic science advisory board made up of professionals outside the SBI to regularly review lab operations.

Other changes include a comprehensive legal review of all lab sections and a more stringent accreditation process, turning over all results of lab tests, including analysts’ notes and increased training for employees.

The SBI is also looking for a permanent lab director who has a professional science degree and a strong background in forensics.

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  • Raleigh Boys Jan 19, 2011

    Funny how the money they get will get pulled from money that might have gone to Wake County. Teachers will be losing jobs for Roy Cooper's Multi-million dollar felon database. Getting it booted up for the increase in high school drop outs from the lose of education funding.

  • John Sawtooth Jan 19, 2011

    I'm hardly convinced of the need for new equipment to address procedural problems. However the rest of the points (including proper training) sound good, especially the oversight and extra supervision outside their department. Many top organizations pay for highly technical employee training, this is the same thing, and justified, IMO.

    But I really like the oversight being proposed.

  • Raleigh Boys Jan 19, 2011

    Fire the whole bunch and rehire new people at 2/3 pay. Bet they will be more productive.

  • the people Jan 18, 2011

    Deaver is not the entire PROBLEM at SBI!!!!!!!! I do not know him at all...But one person cannot be totaly liable in this case,the checks and balances of this agency go deeper than we all for SURE can ever imagine ,trust me this is not a one horse SHOW!!!! Those who approve the way the operation is run is where it is troubled,face it!!!! Some are just waiting for retirement WHICH is coming soon!!!!! The approvers and shakers and bakers are in over their heads..None have the intergerty to go!!!!! Thousands of cases are processed at SBI,How????? Can only a few be in Question?? Then one says she has not read full report?????? Full report ,well that's the whole problem not enough reading,or reading too much into case for the State!!! There must be more than 200 cases!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Poor people need better juris doctrates.....

  • the people Jan 18, 2011

    DNA should be taKEN FROM ALL PUBLIC FIGURES!!!! fINGER PRINTS ALSO TO MAKE SURE NONE HAVE RECORDS OF MORAL TURPITUDE!!!! CHECKED FREQUENTLY!!!

  • input Jan 18, 2011

    Why do they need and additional 3.94 million? 2.1 milloion is being asked for equipment. Equipment is not the problem. 1 million is being asked for professional training. If the employees they have are not professional they should never have been hired in the first place. One half million for a system upgrade, what is a system upgrade? The problem is the lab seeks to build cases to support law enforcement theories rather than seeking the truth. This is an administration problem and requires no additional funds to correct. It is a matter of firing anyone not seeking the truth and hiring replacements that do seek the truth. As far as the quarter million for outside certification and accredation, this is worth as much as the paper it is written on. A legislative panel examining North Carolina's crime lab has recommended changes to promote confidence and integrity in the lab's work. What does $3.94 million dollars have to with that? Money is not the fix to this problem and the other probl

  • Inter Alios Jan 18, 2011

    What the SBI is saying is "trust us, we'll do better". Yet they have done nothing to earn our trust. They've moved a few bad eggs around to other jobs within the SBI, and finally, finally fired Deaver when they couldn't come up with a sellable reason to keep him. The only way to change the convict at all costs culture is to clean house. The legislative committee recommending the changes has demonstrated its committment to keeping the playing field tilted toward the prosecution and away from true meaningful reform. Take the lab away from the SBI! The recommendations are nothing more than putting lipstick on a smelly pig.

  • the people Jan 18, 2011

    SBI heads too big way too long!!!!! I have seen them come around think they are Scotland Yard!! Now some will be in yard under shade tree!!! Durham P.D may do all lab work some day!!

  • whatusay Jan 18, 2011

    The incompetence of the SBI's crimes had nothing to do with money. The problem was man made, making up evidence, ommitting evidence, or losing evidence. All the money in the world won't make the best crime lab effective if it's used improperly just to get a conviction, regardless of innocence or guilt.

  • the people Jan 18, 2011

    DMV get raises this year?? 2000 plus got raises in state last year,only connected will get raises.Like at Wake County Sheriff Office,Raleigh N.C..Captains were promoted to higher paying positions just because they hang with Teflon Don!!!! Nothing sticks to his group; not even Felonies!!!!!! PJC and proud,why chase DEALERS on Corvette if PJC is what he is in favor of!!! Ha!!!

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