04/01/11 — SBI concerns: State needs to put full rescources toward reforms

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SBI concerns: State needs to put full rescources toward reforms

The men who spoke in Raleigh Thursday about the problems with the State Bureau of Investigation are credible sources because they have been there.

One did not have the benefit of DNA analysis to keep him from being convicted of a crime he did not commit -- and the other was a victim of allegedly irresponsible handling of evidence.

And state leaders need to listen to what Dwayne Dail and Greg Taylor have to say -- and get really familiar with the findings from the investigation of the state's crime lab.

There is no more sacred responsibility in the search for justice than the job of the men and women who are charged with handling the evidence.

They are supposed to be trustworthy, dispassionate and fair-minded. They are not supposed to manipulate conclusions or taint evidence. They are simply supposed to present the facts.

The state needs to make cleaning this mess up a priority -- and to listen to those who might have had similar experiences with mishandling of evidence or anything else that could have damaged their ability to get a fair trial.

There will be some who will take advantage of the opportunity and even though they are guilty will try to get a second look at their cases. That is a consequence of the circumstances in which North Carolina finds itself. But if even one innocent person is saved, it will be worth the time.

And then we can concentrate on making sure this never, ever happens again.

Published in Editorials on April 1, 2011 11:12 AM