SBI Articles: October 13th

News&Observer: SBI veterans wrote and approved bad blood policy

The audit, conducted by two former FBI supervisors and released in August, found that SBI lab reports failed to report blood test results that could be favorable to the defendant.  It discovered the withheld test results in lab notes taken by analysts during tests. The SBI did not routinely give those notes to prosecutors until after a change in the law in 2004; that change came after the SBI and prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence in the case of Alan Gell, who was wrongly convicted of murder.”

“Until 2003, blood tests typically had two steps.  The first test, the presumptive test, was often performed at the crime scene to see whether there could be blood evidence. The presumptive test has limitations because some plants, chemicals or metals can give a positive result.  If the presumptive test was positive, agents would collect the evidence – clothes, shoes, a piece of carpet or bedsheet – and send it to the SBI laboratory to run a confirmatory test called Takayama.  Prior to 1997, SBI policy gave no guidance on how to report Takayama test results. Some agents didn’t mention the confirmatory test if the result was negative for the presence of blood. Other agents would report the positive presumptive test and note that “additional tests failed to confirm the presence of blood.”

News&Observer: Man jailed 12 years wants case dropped

“Allen has always maintained his innocence, even as he agreed to a plea that spared his life. Allen, who was 19 at the time of the girl’s death, was taking care of the child in a Garrett Road apartment complex when she died. Doctors said the girl had been assaulted and died after being shaken violently.”

“Moreover, Williams argued in the motion, information has not been provided about an SBI polygraph test of a key witness; that other evidence, including all medical history records of the child, has been lost or destroyed; that witnesses can’t be found because of the age of the case; and that investigators did not look beyond Allen in their probe.  Williams wrote that keeping evidence from Allen while he faced the death penalty is “truly alarming behavior deserving of great condemnation and sanction” by the court. Williams wrote that at least two other people could have harmed young Adesha Artis, but that investigators focused only on Allen and did not seek to determine the facts.”

WRAL: Cooper names another interim chief of SBI crime lab

“The appointment of Joe R. John Sr. is the second time in five weeks that Cooper has tried to find someone to guide the crime lab while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent chief.”
“John, who served on the state Court of Appeals from 1992 to 2000 and was previously a Superior Court and District Court judge in Greensboro, will be responsible for auditing all sections of the crime lab to ensure that test results are accurate and have been properly reported.”

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