Local Politics

Two under consideration to lead state crime lab

Posted June 10, 2011 3:48 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2011 3:55 p.m. EDT

State Bureau of Investigation, SBI

— Attorney General Roy Cooper is considering two people to take the reins of the embattled state crime lab.

A nine-person committee reviewed information collected by an outside search firm, interviewed candidates and recommended three people for the post. The committee included prosecutors, law enforcement, defense attorneys and others.

The finalists are Jana Champion, director of the Wisconsin State Crime Lab in Milwaukee, and Steven Burmeister, a retired FBI agent who is now assistant deputy director of Office of National Intelligence.

The third person recommended by the committee, Jill Spriggs, chief of the California Bureau of Forensic Services, is no longer a candidate, officials said.

The crime lab came under scrutiny last summer when an independent review found that analysts misstated blood evidence in dozens of criminal cases over a 16-year period.

Cooper replaced the director of the State Bureau of Investigation, which oversees the crime lab, as well as the lab director and ordered audits of every section of the lab.

Lawmakers recently approved legislation that would allow an advisory panel to review the lab's work routinely.