News 10.24.13

North Carolina Forensic Advisory Board Discusses Large-Scale Improvements

After the exoneration of Greg Taylor resulted in a 2010

independent review that found problems with state lab practices relating to blood evidence

, North Carolina legislature moved to reform the state lab. To promote scientific reliability,

the legislature created the Forensic Advisory Board

(FAB) to help oversee wide-scale changes to the state lab. FAB is a group of scientists that makes recommendations on new programs, methods of testing and qualifications for forensic scientists working in the lab. Currently, the state lab posts laboratory-wide documents — such as the quality manual, technical procedures, accreditation reports and other protocols — online, allowing a level of transparency that could work to prevent past errors.

 

After the recent FAB meeting, the director of the board explained how various improvements that address lab quality, lab accreditation and certification of eligible scientists have gradually increased public perception of the lab system’s reliability. The DNA operations received another high-quality assurance score in the past year, while other divisions saw more cases completed and processed more quickly, according to the lab’s annual report to the General Assembly. However, the advisory board explains that maintaining a high standard of reliability is an ongoing process.

 

In order to advance the restoration of public confidence, it will be important for the North Carolina Forensic Advisory Board to continually

monitor the protocols and quality processes of the state lab to ensure reliable forensic analyses and transparent practices

.

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