Duane Deaver will not testify in hearing to get job back

Duane Deaver - who was fired over problems at the state crime lab - is appealing his termination.
April 4, 2014 3:31:57 PM PDT
A former blood analyst fired during a scandal at the SBI decided not to take the witness stand in a hearing to get his job back. Duane Deaver's decision surprised some courtroom observers.

Deaver apparently believes his witnesses provided enough evidence for the judge to believe that the long-time SBI agent was fired unjustly.

Deaver's family, who has literally been behind him during the three-day hearing, thinks he was wrongly fired three years ago, and so do several SBI colleagues like Bill Weis.

Weis and other retired agents were upset when their former agency was under fire for allegations that they misused blood evidence to benefit prosecutors.

"Duane was, uh, turned out to be one of the central figures in that," said Weis, a former SBI supervisor.

Indeed, Deaver was the face of the SBI's blood analysis and lab units. He testified in a number of high-profile criminal cases. In one, jurors saw a video of a lab tech trying to recreate a blood smear. In the background, you could hear Deaver sounding like a Hollywood director.

Some testified that Deaver admitted he should not have made the comment and was embarrassed by it. However, a former SBI director said that was not enough to fire him. Yet, there were other reasons in his termination letter -- including the fact that some state judge's on the Innocence Inquiry Commission believed Deaver mislead them about blood evidence.

Friday, the man who actually fired him said if the decision had been his alone Deaver would still be with the SBI.

"My recommendation was that I had some concerns about whether or not that this information would rise to level of termination," said Marshall Tucker, Deaver's former SBI supervisor.

Then Deaver's attorney virtually accused Tucker of psychological torture.

"Do you recall telling Mr. Deaver that his error resulted in the execution of a defendant," asked Philip Isley, Deaver's attorney.

"I remember telling him that there was a case in there that involved a death row inmate. Now, I think you characterized it maybe a little different but, yes, I did point that out to Mr. Deaver," Tucker said.

Tucker said Deaver broke down crying, but sources say the evidence Deaver provided was not key to the execution.

The judge will decide in the next 60 to 90 days whether Deaver should get his job back.

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