Courts & Crime

Report: N.C. SBI lab blew work that sent 7 to death row

RALEIGH -- The criminal convictions of three people who have since been executed in North Carolina, and four more cases in which the defendants are now on death row, are in doubt because of faulty lab work by the SBI, according to a new, scathing report written by former FBI agents who examined the troubled agency's blood work.

The questionable work is the result of "poorly crafted policy; lack of objectivity; the absence of clear report writing guidance; inattention to reporting methods that left too much discretion to the individual Analyst; lack of transparency; and ineffective management and oversight..." the report says.

The new report outlines "serious issues" with the SBI's blood analysis unit's work between 1987 and 2003 in cases involving 269 people.

According to the new review, the cases involved SBI lab reports that were overstated, misleading or omitted important information about negative test results that would have been favorable to the defendants. The SBI's lab work is often powerful evidence in criminal cases, shaping decisions at the heart of a defense that include decisions about plea bargaining or how to cross examine witnesses.

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