SBI to launch 'nationwide' search for new lab director

August 20, 2010 3:52:50 PM PDT
SBI Director Greg McLeod said Friday he will convene a panel of law enforcement officials, defense attorneys and prosecutors to help him begin a national search for a new leader of the state forensic lab.

The news came after a review of the lab said analysts omitted, overstated or falsely reported blood evidence in dozens of cases, including three that ended in executions and another where two men were imprisoned for murdering Michael Jordan's father.

One agent was taken off the job after the report found his work among the worst. The review said Duane Deaver overstated or falsely reporting blood test results in five cases.

McLeod said he will seek input from local and national experts and users of the lab for the right criteria to pick a new director.

Phil Baddour, President of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, and Seth Edwards, District Attorney for the Second Judicial District and President of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, have agreed to serve on the search panel.

"There are many challenges in the forensic sciences and with this search we can find the best professional to address them," said McLeod in a statement.

The statement said current lab director Jerry Richardson "has been informed that he will need to leave the post."

McLeod also said he has moved to remove from casework the agents identified in the Independent Review who are currently working in the lab while a further review of their casework continues.

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