August 2010: A four part series in the Raleigh News and Observer entitled Agents' Secrets: Junk Science, Tainted Testimony at the SBI
"Sometimes people get railroaded. Not only can unscrupulous police, investigators and prosecutors ruin people's lives, but they also can inflict grievous damage on the public's confidence in and respect for their government".
- Cases from prosecutors and police labs need to be periodically and independently audited to insure objectivity and scientific validity of scientific techniques, procedures and testimonies.
- People’s lives are at stake with each and every decision the DA’s office make. The vast majority of people accused of crimes can not afford a proper defense so it is doubly the duty of the prosecutors office and staff and experts to be fair and objective in their analysis and assessment or evidence in each and every case. Unfortunately seeking truth and justice is but a lofty ideal for some prosecutors and experts who either have political ambitions or are influenced by outside organizations or simply see it all as a game in which they want to WIN!
- We have personally witnessed this deplorable situation with some DA's and 'experts' for the prosecution on several occasions in our 35+ years in the field and will publish the details in the near future.
- Even with all the safeguards built into the criminal justice system - from the right of defendants to be represented by counsel to the multi-layered process of appeals - nobody for a minute would claim the system is foolproof. But there is a difference between errors that occur despite good-faith efforts by conscientious, fair-minded law enforcement personnel, and those that reflect reckless, sloppy or even dishonest attempts to secure convictions and make them stick.
To put it another way: Sometimes people get railroaded. Not only can unscrupulous police, investigators and prosecutors ruin people's lives, but they also can inflict grievous damage on the public's confidence in and respect for their government.
Yes, we have a specific situation in mind - this being the week that an N&O series is examining problems within North Carolina's State Bureau of Investigation.
It is unfortunate that the actions of a few bad apples can soil the reputation of many.