State News

Legislators get more info on lab accreditation

Posted September 30, 2010 1:36 p.m. EDT
Updated September 30, 2010 6:35 p.m. EDT

— 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.