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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Appeals and Drastic Changes Coming to NC SBI Lab

For the past week, the Charlotte Observer has been running a series on North Carolina's SBI Lab. To read the entire series, click here. The lab director, Jerry Richardson, lost his job yesterday.  The potential implications of the Lab's mistakes and disregard for acceptable lab practices are far reaching. Jeff Welty in his news roundup yesterday summarized one of the most alarming admissions- "it was indeed the sanctioned practice of some NC SBI Laboratory Analysts to omit the results of certain negative or inconclusive confirmatory tests in final lab reports under certain circumstances, and this practice later became written SBI policy in 1997."

The series highlighted  higher profile homicide cases. However, for those who think it has not affected the minor drug possession case, they are mistaken. In the article SBI lab relied on sight, not testing, in drug cases, a former drug analyst, Irvin Allcox, testified in 2007 that the SBI didn't want to waste time in testing prescription drugs when analysts could look through a pharmaceutical manual and identify pills on appearance. This statement is equally alarming- is it really safe to assume that all prescription drugs sold on the black market are authentic?

Fewer cases are affected in Mecklenburg County because Charlotte Mecklenburg Police uses its own lab. However, if you were arrested for a DWI in Huntersville or Matthews and you submitted to a blood test, your blood was probably analyzed by the CBI lab in Raleigh. Expect appeals and expect drastic changes.

Below is a news story that summarizes some of the story.


posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


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