The Champion

January-February 2012 , Page 22 

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Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward — Or Has It Been a Path Misplaced?

By Bernadette Mary Donovan and Edward J. Ungvarsky

In February 2010, North Carolina exonerated Gregory F. Taylor after he served 17 years of a life sentence for a murder he did not commit. Because of North Carolina’s provisions providing for formal review of innocence inquiries,1 Taylor was able to present exculpatory evidence to demonstrate his innocence. Had it not been for North Carolina’s forensics laboratory, however, Taylor would likely not have been convicted and sentenced to prison. Although the innocence review panel did not disclose the precise basis of its finding, Taylor’s defense team uncovered evidence that the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) Crime Laboratory had failed to disclose exculpatory evidence of serological testing performed on Taylor’s car, which was used at trial to (falsely) link him to the crime. While testimony and SBI reports admitted at trial indicated blood had been found on Taylor’s car, confirmatory tests performed by SBI prior to trial had been negative for the presence of blood. Thes

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