Local News

Lawmakers look for change to SBI crime lab

Posted August 19, 2010 10:42 p.m. EDT
Updated August 19, 2010 11:44 p.m. EDT

— State representatives Nelson Dollar and Rosa Gill of Wake County are from different parties but they agreed Thursday night that change is needed at the state crime lab. 

An independent review of the lab's blood analysis unit released Wednesday found analysts omitted, overstated or falsely reported blood evidence in 230 cases – 190 of which went to trial.

Of those, 80 of the defendants are still serving time. Four are on death row, three were executed, though they confessed to their crimes, and five died in prison.

"It was shocking," said Gill, a Democrat.

"This is simply inexcusable," Republican Dollar echoed.

The review examined a small percentage of the crime lab's cases over a 16-year period. As a result, there have been calls for a comprehensive review of all cases, going back as far as necessary.

"It's probably going to cost the state taxpayers millions of dollars," Dollar said.

Both lawmakers said they need to consider whether the SBI should be an agency independent of the Attorney General's office.

"We do need, possibly, some other agency," Gill said.

The agreed the public's confidence in the justice system has been shaken.

"And I think that's extremely unfortunate," Dollar said.