Special Reports

Serious issues

An audit released Wednesday found serious issues with blood analysis by the SBI on more than 200 criminal cases, including seven death penalty convictions.

SBI agents misstated, overstated or falsely reported blood analysis in the cases between 1987 and 2003, affecting 269 defendants, the audit concludes.

The audit recommends wholesale reviews by prosecutors, attorneys and the courts to determine whether the new information would change any case's outcome. That work was already under way in some instances Wednesday.

Attorney General Roy Cooper said he is open to an independent crime lab in North Carolina, a shift from his previous position that the lab should remain under the SBI.

Cooper also said he is open to allowing defendants convicted before 2004 to now have complete access to law enforcement files, something they would not have had at the time their cases were adjudicated.