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Monday, January 30, 2012

NAACP vs North Carolina's Corrupt SBI Lab (Imprisoning BLACK Men)

NAACP calls SBI report 'disturbing'

North Carolina NAACP President William Barber called a report on work by the State Bureau of Investigation "a disturbing reminder of the old times that are not forgotten" Thursday.

The scathing report released Wednesday says 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 imprisoned for murdering Michael Jordan's father.

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"We believe the agencies involved have forfeited the trust and faith which people should have in them," said Barber in a written statement. "The conclusion is inescapable from these devastating revelations of deliberate wrongdoing. Every resident of North Carolina has been hurt by these malicious abuses of authority and we all remain potential victims."

But Barber also cautioned against swift action, saying: "There will be time to consider carefully the policy reforms that will be necessary to rebuild confidence in the Justice Department that Attorney General Cooper has promised."

Barber said he planned a news conference Monday to talk about how the revelations may affect law enforcement efforts in North Carolina and what it may mean for death penalty cases and those on death row.

SBI review renews call for death penalty moratorium

Two groups called for more investigation Monday following last week's scathing report on the investigative work done by the SBI's state crime labs.

The audit revealed flawed laboratory work performed by SBI analysts in criminal cases. According to the findings, the SBI withheld evidence, which may have tainted as many as 190 cases over a 16-year time span.

Eighty of the people convicted in those cases are still in prison, four are on death row, three were executed and five died in prison.

The NAACP and the People of Faith Against the Death Penalty are just two of the organizations that participated in a joint news conference Monday in Raleigh.

The groups say the SBI review should lead to more actions by state leaders.

Backed by several death penalty opponents, NC NAACP President Reverend William Barber spoke bluntly.

He says state authorities should go beyond the SBI lab report that shows sloppy SBI lab work may have led to wrong capital crime convictions.

"We have watched several African-American men, at the last minute, be released from death row and sent out of prison doors without a dime for their time, without so much as an official apology, a collective apology, from our elected officials," Barber said Monday.

Also in attendance at Monday's news conference was Pat McCoy, the brother of murder victim Kathy McCoy. He is upset because NC Attorney General Roy Cooper announced a re-investigation of several convictions based on the lab investigation results.

"My heart goes out to victims and their families who will now have to hear that justice wasn't done, and that the case they thought was closed must be reopened," McCoy said.

He's especially worried about findings that show omission of key crime lab work during murder investigations.

McCoy says families and victims suffer as a result. "Please don't dishonor their memory by building cases based on pseudo-science, sloppy work and misconduct," he added.

FBI agents, who examined more than 15,000 cases between 1987 and 2003, found that the SBI withheld blood evidence that may have kept convicted defendants out of prison.

"The full case files of each of these cases should be reviewed by both prosecutors and appropriate defense counsel," AG Cooper said.

Barber says the findings in the report are only the beginning.

"We believe that in some ways because it's preliminary, this is only the tip of the iceberg -- he and his co-investigator audited only one of five of the SBI labs, and so there's still much more work to be done," Barber said.

Baber says he wants NC to end its death penalty policy.

"We're calling the state to reflect, to repent and then to begin a movement toward repeal and a movement toward reform," he added.

Barber and supporters of a moratorium want all six of the SBI's crime labs investigated, not only the ones that were investigated in the report.

They also want Governor Bev. Perdue to commute all death penalty sentences to life sentences while lab work for those convictions is reviewed.

Finally, the group wants does not want any additional death penalty sentences during the expanded investigation.

Questions about SBI lab free Durham man

A judge ordered the release Friday of a Durham man convicted in 1998 in the sexual assault and murder of a 2-year-old girl.

According to ABC11 archived stories, Derrick M. Allen, 31, was 19 when Durham police charged him in the death of Adesha Sikia Artis. According to the transcript of a 911 call made by Allen, he claimed the child passed out while he was getting her dressed in a home they shared off Garrett Road.

An autopsy later revealed she'd been sexually assaulted.

Allen has always maintained he was innocent, and family members said in interviews with ABC11 in 1998 that they believed someone else in the home hurt the child.

Now, an audit of SBI crime lab cases has revealed that a key piece of evidence in the case against Allen - bloody undergarments - actually tested negative for blood.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson ordered Allen released without bond on Friday. A date for his new trial has not been set.

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Sources: ABC News, McClatchy Newspapers, Newsobserver, Google Maps

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