Analysts at North Carolina’s crime lab omitted, overstated, or falsely reported blood evidence in dozens of cases, including three that ended in executions and another where two men were convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father, says a scathing independent review being released today, the Associated Press reports. The government-ordered study by two former FBI officials found that agents of the State Bureau of Investigation repeatedly aided prosecutors in obtaining convictions over a 16-year period, mostly by misrepresenting blood evidence and keeping critical notes from defense attorneys.
The report calls for a thorough examination of 190 criminal cases, stating that, at times, “information that may have been material and even favorable to the defense of an accused defendant was withheld or misrepresented.” The report does not conclude that innocent people were convicted, noting that the evidence wasn’t always used at trials and defendants may have admitted to crimes. It says prosecutors and defense lawyers need to check whether tainted lab reports helped lead to confessions or pleas. Attorney General Roy Cooper ordered the review after a state agent testified the crime lab once had a policy of excluding complete blood test results from reports offered to defense lawyers before trials. Agent Duane Deaver’s testimony led to the exoneration of a murder convict imprisoned nearly 17 years.