Friday, December 15, 2006

Meehan, Nifong, and Exculpatory

DNA security director Brian Meehan, under vigorous examination, admitted in today's hearing that Mike Nifong knew that the report the company produced failed to include critical exculpatory evidence--namely, that multiple DNA samples from men were found in the rape kit.

Meehan's assertion: that privacy concerns trumped his obligation to follow both the law and his own company's protocols.

More to come; here's Joe Neff's take.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you meant to write "failed to include" not "failed to exclude"

Anonymous said...

A response from Ralph Keaton from ASCLD/LAB, the accrediting agency of DNA Security, Inc, on the status of the lab's accreditation and the requirements for reporting.

I guess Mr Meehan has a different definition of "complete and accurate" reporting than the rest of the world

---------------------------------
From: R. Keaton

DNA Security of Medical Village, 1610 Vaughn Road, Burlington, NC was accredited by ASCLD/LAB on 8/27/2004 under the standards and criteria of the 2003 version of the ASCLD/LAB Accreditation Manual in the discipline of Biology which includes DNA. In addition to the ASCLD/LAB standards, the DNA Security Laboratory was inspected against the requirements of the FBI "Quality Assurance Standards for Forensic DNA Testing Laboratories and Convicted Offender DNA Databasing Laboratories".

Although the 2003 Manual has limited standards and criteria specific to reports, the expectation of ASCLD/LAB has always been that reports issued by accredited laboratories accurately represent the complete and accurate findings of the analytical work performed.

Standards and Evaluation Criteria from the 2003 Manual which relate to Reports include the following: Please note that an (E) beside a criterion number means Essential and requires compliance in order to be accredited.

2003 Standard
The laboratory must create and maintain a case record for administrative and
examination documentation generated or received by the laboratory on each case which it receives. Examination documentation such as notes,worksheets, photographs, spectra, printouts, charts, and other data or records which support conclusions must be generated and kept in the case record.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.14 (E)
DO THE EXAMINERS GENERATE AND DOES THE LABORATORY MAINTAIN, IN A CASE
RECORD, ALL THE NOTES, WORKSHEETS, PHOTOGRAPHS, SPECTRA, PRINTOUTS,
CHARTS AND OTHER DATA OR RECORDS USED BY EXAMINERS TO SUPPORT THEIR
CONCLUSIONS?

2003 Standard
It is essential that a representative number of reports be subjected to a
technical review.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.16
DOES THE LABORATORY HAVE, USE AND DOCUMENT A SYSTEM OF TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE REPORTS TO ENSURE THAT THE CONCLUSIONS OF ITS EXAMINERS ARE REASONABLE AND WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE?


The more recent version (2005 Version) of the ASCLD/LAB Accreditation
Manual which became effective on January 1, 2006 has included standards and
criteria which are more specific to reports. The added standards and evaluation criteria from the 2005 manual are listed below:

Standard
Examination documentation must be sufficiently detailed to support the
conclusions and opinions reported by the examiner(s) and must be such
that, in the absence of the examiner(s), another competent examiner or
supervisor could evaluate what was done and interpret the data. Examination
documentation must be of a permanent nature and must be free of
obliterations and erasures.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.16 (E)
ARE CONCLUSIONS AND OPINIONS IN REPORTS SUPPORTED BY DATA AVAILABLE IN
THE CASE RECORD, AND ARE THE EXAMINATION DOCUMENTS SUFFICIENTLY DETAILED SUCH THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF THE EXAMINER(S), ANOTHER COMPETENT EXAMINER OR SUPERVISOR COULD EVALUATE WHAT WAS DONE AND INTERPRET THE DATA?

Standard
Laboratory personnel who issue findings based on examination documentation
generated by another person(s) must complete and document the review of
all relevant pages of examination documentation in the case record.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.18 (E)
HAS EACH PERSON(S) IN THE LABORATORY WHO ISSUED FINDINGS BASED ON
EXAMINATION DOCUMENTATION GENERATED BY ANOTHER PERSON, COMPLETED A
REVIEW OF ALL RELEVANT PAGES OF EXAMINATION DOCUMENTATION AND DOCUMENTED THE REVIEW IN THE CASE RECORD?

Standard
Written reports must be generated for all analytical work performed on
evidence by the laboratory and must contain the conclusions and
opinions that address the purpose for which the analytical work was undertaken.
The significance of associations made must be communicated clearly and
qualified properly. The name of the author(s) must appear in the report.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.19 (E)
DOES THE LABORATORY GENERATE WRITTEN REPORTS FOR ALL ANALYTICAL WORK
PERFORMED ON EVIDENCE, AND DO THE REPORTS CONTAIN THE CONCLUSIONS AND
OPINIONS THAT ADDRESS THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE ANALYTICAL WORK WAS
UNDERTAKEN?

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.20 (E)
WHERE ASSOCIATIONS ARE MADE, IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ASSOCIATION
COMMUNICATED CLEARLY AND QUALIFIED PROPERLY IN THE REPORT?

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.21 (E)
DOES THE NAME OF THE AUTHOR(S) APPEAR IN THE REPORT?

Standard
It is essential that a representative number of reports be subjected to a technical review.

Evaluation Criterion 1.4.2.22 (E)
DOES THE LABORATORY HAVE, USE AND DOCUMENT A SYSTEM OF TECHNICAL REVIEW OF THE REPORTS TO ENSURE THAT THE CONCLUSIONS OF ITS EXAMINERS ARE REASONABLE AND WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE?


To answer your earlier questions:

ASCLD/LAB inspection reports are not considered public documents by ASCLD/LAB because in most states (other than New York, Oklahoma and Texas) accreditation is a voluntary process to which laboratories volunteer to participate. The legal system has a means of obtaining these reports when
deemed necessary for the legal process.

Ongoing proficiency testing is mandatory and each DNA analyst in a laboratory accredited in DNA is required to participate in two external proficiency tests each year. Each of these tests must be received from a proficiency test provider which is approved by ASCLD/LAB. The test results must be returned to the test provider by a pre-set deadline and all test results are reviewed by an ASCLD/LAB established Proficiency Review Committee. Whenever any results are reported which are inconsistent with expected results, ASCLD/LAB follows-up with the laboratory and requires appropriate corrective action. DNA Security has been required to participate and has participated in the prescribed testing.

DNA Security is accredited for a five year period contingent upon
continued compliance with the requirements of accreditation. Their expiration
date is 8/26/09. The laboratory must submit an application for renewal of accreditation at least six months prior to that date and undergo a full re-inspection in order to retain accreditation.

Because the issues which you raised are related to an ongoing legal
process, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter.

Thank you for your interest.

Anonymous said...

That "privacy" excuse is such transparent bull$**t. Whose privacy were they trying to protect? The unindicted LAX players (otherwise known as those guys whose DNA was not found anywhere on or near the accuser)? Or were they trying to protect the unidentified multiple male contributors of the DNA found in the accuser's body and on her underwear? Sure, makes a lot of sense to me. It's always very important to protect the innocent from evidence of their innocence, or to protect unidentified males from havig their DNA discussed. Geez. Who are Meehan and Nifong trying to kid? They've met multiple times, and this BS was the best they could come up with? Is there still anyone out there saying Nifong is smart???

Victim in Massachusetts said...

KC now we see who really is being raped in N.C. there names are Collin Finnery, David Evans and jREade Seligmann. This judge has no balls and is a whimp. Nifong has this jerk in his back pocket.

Anonymous said...

As clear cut a Brady Violation as I have ever seen.

This lays a solid foundation for Federal involvement if they want to jump in.

-BCM, Esquire-

Anonymous said...

Am assuming the agreement between Nifong and Meehan took place in April '05 prior to the indictments.

It will be interesting to see how Nifong explains how he only learned of the other male DNA 'just ths past week'.

If it becomes Nifong's word (what a cheap currency) against Meehan's;

- Are there other witnesses to the 'agreements?

-If Gotleib was a witness will he take yet another bullet for the team and perjure himself?

In Meehan's favor on any dispute to when Nifong "knew" is -- why else would he ignore his Lab's own policies.

Hey Mikey-boy - that tight feeling you have is the noose you put on your own neck - enjoy !

TW

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to send the Neff article to the Governor...if he can read...and perhaps that will encourage him to get off his well-fed behind and force Nifong to drop this bomb.

Anonymous said...

you can let the lab how you feel about their association with Nifong...by using their online contact form! Yes, they are so inept that they disabled directory listing but did not actually take down the html files so...if you know their name you can 'get' the site.

Look a few threads below and you will see the link I posted with the contact info. The rest of the site is also visible.

If they choose to take down the site for good when they find out their 'mistake' then it is still 'cached' by google and can be found easily ('google' their website and then click the 'cached' link next to the result)

bill anderson said...

It looks to me as though we have the basis of a conspiracy charge, as well as obstruction of justice. The deliberate decision of Nifong and Meehan to withhold important information, and with Nifong lying in court about it, tells me that we have a serious case.

Whether or not a U.S. attorney will have the guts to pursue an investigation and possible criminal case is another matter. Federal prosecutors like to go after easy targets, and Nifong would not be so easy, and a conviction would be difficult to obtain.

However, I must add that right now, there is MUCH more evidence for obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges than there presently exists (and ever will exist, I might add) to charge Reade, Dave, and Collin with rape, kidnapping, and assault.

Anonymous said...

Either I'm too sleep deprived, or Nifong can state any lame argument with a straigh face.

What privacy protections do "unidentified DNA contributors" require ?

uhhhmmm, if no one knows who the little DNA buggers belong to, how can you reveal their identity and jeapordize their privacy ?

Am I missing something (besides sleep?)

Anonymous said...

Bill,
You think this judge might be letting Liefong just hang himself by ignoring his lying? He is getting in some deep doo doo!

bill anderson said...

I hope you are right about the judge giving Nifong the rope with which to hang himself. Yes, I know a judge cannot suddenly blurt out something like: "You are a damned liar. Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200."

But I would love to hear it!