It's the doors closed, and we're going to begin with reading for a few minutes late but we will make up for time, we have got a group of experts in Chemistry here and I'm certainly glad that I never was in Chemistry, but, anyway, can you Can you hear [xx]? Just a second. Testing, testing... Testing, testing Can you turn it up [xx]? Testing, testing... Testing. There we go. Okay. Thank you very much. plus we have two pages today and Antonio Simms from Pitt County and where's Antonio? There he is, OK. Antonio, your sponsor is who? The Speaker? Yes, Sir. OK, who's that? You don't know? OK, we'll leave it alone. OK, tell us a little something about yourself. Hi, my name's Antonio. I'm from Pitt county, Region 5. I'm on the school[sp?] board of directors, a little bit by myself. I'm 13 years old, I go to Days Rose[sp?] North Carolina. I've got five sisters and one brother. I'm a leader, I love being a leader to other young people. The first time being a page, so. Well, let me tell you who your sponsor is Tim Moore. [xx] Derry[sp?] OK. Well, I just want to make sure that you knew your representative. Gale would be disappointed that you didn't know your representative, but anyway, do you play sports Antonio? Yes, Sir. I play football and basketball. Well, we hope the best you're going to learn a lot in this committee and we'll not be giving you any test afterward, OK? Thank you for being here. Thank you. OK, and we've got Ethan Walton, is that correct? [xx] I'm Ethan Walton. I'm 16 years old. I home school, and my sponsor is Buck Newton, Senator Newton. OK, and you are a what? You say 16, so you're a what? 8th grade or? I'm a sophomore. OK you have a drivers license yet? Yes I do. All right are you a good driver? I'm pretty good. Well I don't know if we have a highway patrol here or not but we'll not asked any questions about driving laws. Ok because I know you are just getting started but be careful and drive safe. Hope you have a bright future appreciate you being in this committee. Thank you. OK, your Sergeant-At-Arms is House Barry Moore, Big Barry, good to have you here. V. H Pal, V. H good to have you here and Dave Lithium, good to have you here. Senate has Giles Jeffreys, Charles good to have you here, and get Kenton Long. He's stepped outside. OK, alright. We've got a very interesting presentation today and I'm sure there will be a lot of questions, and we'll just ask those as we go along. So, Christine I think you're going to begin this. So any way, thanks all of you for being here I expect this will last the full presentation, but whatever questions you have jump in, OK? Thank you, Mr Chair. Good morning everyone bear with me for a minute while I sort out the technology. Apparently we lost our [xx] the first day we had a sub-committee meeting, so I'm wired now. We are going to talk this morning about the North Carolina state crime laboratory. So I'll jump right in the North Carolina state crime laboratory is located in the department of Justice. Since we haven't talked yet about the department of Justice, I'll give you a quick overview. The department of Justice provides legal services for the state, they assist local law enforcement agencies, and they oversee law enforcement training and standards.
Department of Justice is led by the trained general Roy Keeper and the divisions include legal services, consumer protection, criminal versus training and standards, and of course the North Carolina state crime lab. The total budget for the department of Justice is $83.1 million and they have 807.76 FTE, and you can see their budget high right there. Some key facts about the crime lab, it is led by John Bird, the director. Statutory authorization is in GS 11460. Which establishes the lab and directs that a sufficient number of skilled people be employed to provide a reasonable service to the public and the criminal justice system. Their total base budget is 17.7 million dollars for 2015/16. Their total FTE is 207 and there are three lab facilities. I'm going to stop for a minute and talk. William, when William did all the court's presentations. He was talking about the authorized budget for AST. Which was the current year, what they're allowed to spend in the current year. For my presentation, and when we move on to DPS were now I'm going to start talking about the base budget. Which is what you're going to have to start with for 2015/16. That's the budget you have to adjust. William didn't talk about the base budget because we didn't have those numbers when William was putting his presentations together, so the numbers that you will see now are what you will be working with, what you will be adjusting for the 20 13, 16 budget. Okay so the biggest pits of crime lab legislation you passed in the past decade or so was amendment of the forensic science act to 2011. This act renamed the lab from the SPI crime lab to the North Carolina state crime laboratory replaced reasonable services to prosecutors and the statue to reasonable service to the public and the criminal justice system, created the forensic science advisory board and required all that to be ISO accredited, state and local and it said that any admissible evidence brought into court into court, had to be have been performed a bio laboratory that is accredited by a body that requires conformance to forensic specific requirements, and which is a signatory to the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement and so that required accreditation at the state level and at the local level. You then later in 2013, went back and gave the locals a little bit longer longer, so they don't have to be accredited until 2016, but the State Lab does have to be accredited now. You also went back and changed that requirement to allow hospitals certification for toxicology cases. Which is how the hospitals can test toxicology in some of the districts, and we'll talk more about that in a few minutes. The Forensic Scientist Act also requires certification of state forensic scientists. You don't require certification of any other local scientist or scientific private lab, but we do require that anyone who is employed by the state crime lab be certified, and you created an ombudsman in the crime lab. Its sort of a conduit between the VA between the prosecutors, to the general public [xx] about crime lab issues, and one thing to note there is that when the general assembly created the ombudsman position they did not fund the position but instead directed to the department of justice to find money available to pay for that position. I'm going to talk a little bit more about the forensic scientist advisory board. The statutory authorization there is 114-61 it has 15 members a director and 14 people appointed by AG. There's a forensic science professional from across the country. They have bi-annual meetings, and they provide advice to the crime lab director, and make recommendations concerning new programs and protocols methods how they can sustain and improve programs. If there are unnecessary programs, guidelines for court presentations and qualification standards for the scientists. So let's move on to the crime lab. All law enforcement agencies in the state can submit evidence for processing to the state crime lab. Previously there wasn't any limit on the amount of evidence that they could submit, or the number of cases they can send. There is still ins't limit to the number of cases they can send. How over in the past couple of years, there's an advice from the forensic sciences board, they have implemented some limits to the number of the pieces evidence that can be sent and so you can see on this slide the dark blue is the cases and then the green strip one is the number of items that
were submitted with those cases, and so, for example in 09/10 there were 32, 000 cases with 68, 000 pieces of evidence that came into the crime lab. So in fiscal year 13/14 you can see those numbers are getting a little closer together. There are 27, 000 cases with only 46, 000 pieces of evidence, and that is because of new limits that were implemented at the crime lab on how much evidence the law enforcement can send. So, for example, in a homicide case they're limited to the 10 best pieces of evidence for the first submission. They send your 10 best pieces of evidence, the crime lab will test it, if they don't find what they need on that, then we can send 10 more. So, it's not that there's a limit on overall test, it's just what you can send the first time. Does that make sense to everyone? And so that has significantly cut down on some backlogs and the level of work that's being required at the Crime Lab. The crime lab process, they're a certified law enforcement agency, collects the evidence for an official criminal investigation. They then take it to the crime lab or they mail it to the crime lab where the evidence goes to the Evidence Control Unit, there are nine FTE in the Evidence Control Unit. The requesting officer specifies which tests they want done on that evidence, and some items may go to multiple sections. So for example if an agency is sending in a gun, they may send that gun to Latent for fingerprints and then down to Firearms and Tool Marks for testing. Once the testing is completed, the analysis is published on Forensic Advantage, I believe it remains out there for 60 days it's available to prosecutors for 60 days, and the evidence is returned to the local law enforcement agency. The crime lab is not in the business of housing evidence for local law enforcement agencies, that is a local responsibility. Again, the crime lab does provide services to all law enforcement officers in the state. There are three regional labs, there's the Raleigh lab here off Tryon road, the Triad Lab and the Western Lab. This map shows the different regions, the Raleigh Lab does serve the entire state, but the Triad Lab and Western Lab also have limited services available. Before we get too far into the services, I just want to remind you that the Crime lab is not CSI Raleigh, there is not really flattering lighting with incredibly well-dressed people doing forensic analysis on everything, they are limited to a DNA pathology analyst does not also the firearms analysis. Say one person is not solving the crime from step one to prosecution and I also do I think it's 42 sir because you got add in the commercials. They don't do it in 42 minutes I don't know. [xx]. John Bird, oh that was loud, my apologies. John Bird, I'm the director for crime Lab. Senator Bingham there are restrictions on what can be mailing out that's controlled by the United States Postal Service most of the select ammunition being mailed back with the weapon itself, and then controlled substances there is some restrictions on that as well. Does that answer your question sir? [xx] [xx] so I can't [xx] [xx] it seems [xx] last year you extended the certification time, I can't remember the details that [xx] I believe senator Bingham that that certification time was extended for the local lab and not the state crime lab. Yes sir. Mr. Chair you've extended the time for the local labs to be accredited twice and then may be the first time you extended it to 2015 and then the next chair you extended it again to 2016, and you all the change, so me of the language in the certification
requirements to give crime lab scientists a [xx] of 18 months to be certified once they are eligible for certification, and that was in 2011 when you did that. OK. [xx] Representative Faircloth In the cases where there is [xx] or even services depending on [xx] if they have a piece of evidence [xx] strengthen their case [xx] Yes, OK. Mr. Bird. Representative Faircloth, I think if I heard your question correctly, Is the crime lab involved in helping to determine other probative items of evidence to be submitted? Yes Sir, they are. yes sir. Any other questions? [xx] So services that are provided by the crime labs, the first is digital and latent evidence, this is computers digital media, audio and video evidence written print that we're entitled impression, there are 24 FDE working in digital and maintain evidence and they had 1164 case submission in fiscal year 2013/14. This is done it all of the three labs hell over the western lab does only do [xx] evidence is fire arms and [xx] this is weapons and ammunition and they march [xx] there are 14 FTE's in this section and they had 582 case submissions in that report. This is done in the Lowery lab and in the Western lab. Trace evidence which is hair, fibers, glass, paint, headlight filaments, gunshot residue in places[sp?] and fire debris. There are 10 FTE in this section, and they had 938 submissions in Fiscal Year 13/14. This is primarily only done in the Raleigh Lab, however the Western lab does do fire debris. Next up is Forensic Biology, blood and body fluids and DNA testing. There are 36 FTE in this section, they had 1, 636 submissions in Fiscal Year 13/14. This is currently only done in Raleigh, however last year you did appropriate funding for 10 DNA positions for the Western Lab, once those folks are up and running they will be placed out in Raleigh. Mr. Chair, [xx] Representative Stevens you have a question? Thank you, and that's an appropriate place for my question. As part of the Courts Commission, we recommended that the money we set aside for DA's two years be allowed to be used for DNA testing as well as the alcohol testing, does that mean we're going to need to give hospital labs in exemption like we did with the alcohol or they automatically certified. That's my understanding that the hospital labs were automatically accredited to be certified Thank you Mr. Chair. I'm representing [xx] as the way the law was changed you only allowed hospital certification for toxicology cases and [xx] this year from the research division she is the most knowledgeable person about the crime lab stack sheet, she may have more to that but I'm going to talk about hospital toxicology. one step beyond that, is if we're going to allow them to do DNA, they need to the same exemption that they got for toxicology. Under current law I don't believe that they're all trying to do DNA and having this Representative Stephens just for the clarification for the DNA, the court should have to meet the more strange FBI acquire insurance standards, they are only toxicology, the hospitals will not be able to do the DNA testing, is much more strange of requirements, we already have five private vendor laboratories they are approved by the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory with concurrence from the FBI to be able to do that testing. Thank you. Mr [xx] where are those labs? We have one lab, this John
Bird again lab director, the five laboratories that I'm going to look to my database manager the laboratory in Peak County is one of them, Body Labs in Virginia, Sale mark[sp?] Laboratory I believe they're in Texas, and I'll have to find the other two and respond later. Okay, the reason I ask you, I think you said local so I guess taxes is local, closer than California for sure, but anyway we'll understand, we'll get that later, and I had if you don't mind, a couple other questions. What is the cost of a DNA test and how long does that take? I've always heard, it's very expensive, and it takes, rather, a lot of hours in a lab to do this again, John Bird, Lab Director, the actual test kit, there's multiple prices that go when to figuring out the actual point range, but the kit itself is over $1, 000. We can run several samples with that $1, 000. It's takes anywhere from a week to two weeks to run it through all of the processes including a full review process that we go through, and I can get you a more detailed breakout of that, if that would be helpful, Sir. That gives me an idea, but way the I noticed in the submission and in the number of submissions you have and the amount of time you've taken oh my goodness but anyway. OK thank you. Thank Mr. Chair, I'm sorry, what everyone was just talking about was Kodes[sp?] and the DNA database. The DNA database is where all of the DNA samples go, Mr. Chair representative [xx] OK representative Neal, while we are on this and other stuff, hospital 225 has been filed to DNA test and there are felonies, I'd like to ask the question, how that's going to impact the work load, the man power, the budget and the storage for the lab? If they don't have an answer immediately then maybe they could get it to her. Yeah, get it to the community, I don't know if If you would give us your name and Good morning Mr. Chair name is Nelsroseline, CSO from the Department of Justice we provided information Christine. Our physical impact is it would 4.4 million in recurring songs to process additional samples, right now with your previous question, without adding all [xx] it cost about $84 per sample when you look at the staff supplies related cost, they would approximately 30 more staff, each kid is about $26 in scientific supplies, and we've got additional information, we can provide committee too, on a physical estimate that they would need significant space for 30 more staff too. OK thank you Neil and representative answer the question. I think so, did you mention storage Does it impact your storage? That includes space for storage, so yes, we would need about a 16, 000 square-foot facility for the staff and storage in the whole operation. OK, thank you Neal[sp?] Yes, thank you Mr. Chair. Representative Neal[sp?] we are still working with the Department of Justice on that estimate. So we'll get you some form numbers thank you. So going back to Curtis this is the DNA database that is regulated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation are limits to what can and who can upload information into it. Now Director Buck was saying earlier they do have five labs that have been authorize to submit DNA evidence to the crime lab to upload the code, it's important to remember that those private labs cannot upload because it's themselves, they must send the evidence to the crime lab and then the crime lab will upload it, so there's crime lab stop times involve ability to win the private labs are used. The DNA database gets codent uploads on arrest, convicted offender in Forensic biology where there's left off the spot. There are 21 FDE in this section and they had 26549 code submission in 13.14,
you can see the breakout there or there. The next is the one that I'm surely I've been waiting to talk about drug chemistry and toxicology. Drug chemistry is the identification of controlled substances. Toxicology is whether you are on screening on for central substances ungrudging drug and alcohol there 59 FDE section they had 240212 submission. the western lab it should be at the western lab by mid summer Representative Daughtry, you have a question. I think we've got to the point now where we need to ask some questions about how much time is taken for these tests. First of all be submitted and then be sent back to the DA. I know we got a lot of criticism about the [xx] I'd like to know, I think we all would like to know [xx] being negative you speak at times [xx]. [xx] OK, Representative Daughtry, would you want to hold your questions? I'd be glad to. OK. Thank you, Mr. Chair. Mr. Chair, let me just see if I make it to answer your questions in the presentation, if you don't mind. So, Representative Daughtry is referring to backlog issues that have been caused by a Supreme Court decision Melinda CS verses Massachusetts which requires live testimony by live analysts now has been interpreted in the state of North Carolina as in person testimony by lab analysts. It resulted in a huge increase in court hours for analysts and toxicology was the most impacted [xx] because of DWI cases and I've got a chart here on this slide that shows you the toxicology core hours for Raleigh lab in 2009 they were restriction on 693 court hours in 2010 the year after supreme court made a decision on more scs that number jumped to 2369 court hours and wanting to keep in mind when you talking about court hours that the title time an analyst is out in the lab to being core, so for example in 2013, 14, they had 2822 core hours of that only 257 hours were actually sent testifying. So nine percent of the total court hour time, is actually sent on providing their analysis for a taste. So it's causing quite a [xx] so what is the lab doing, the lab hasn't created mandatory overtime however, that is currently suspended because of the financial cost right now, They also did geographic assignment for the analysts. So, analysts who are working on Western cases aren't also working on cases in New Hanover County. They have worked on a stopped-work project in conjunction with AOC and the DAs, and what that is is that they go back through their system, they marry it up with the AOC system and find cases which have been finished for whatever reason they were dismissed, they were pled out, the case is done and so they don't need the toxicology analysis anymore. They were able to eliminate 4, 000 cases since the Fall of 2014 with that project. They've also outsourced training because when you added new toxicology analysts, which I'll talk about in a minute, those folks have to be trained and it takes analysts time to train new analysts. So what they've done there is take some lot salary money and used that to contract with a vendor to provide training so lab analysts aren't out of the lab, they're actually analysis rather than training me first, and then finally they've incorporated a linen fixed stigma process to improve efficiency in the lab. So what is the general assembly Daniel, we've also done quite a bit to try to alleviate this toxicology problem. The crime lab is appropriated funding for 19 new toxicologist position for the Western lab that's one and a half million dollars, you appropriated equipment for their toxicologist, use appropriated funding for a whole new Western lab facilities on the [xx] and the [xx] propitiated $250000 dollars recurring for toxicology outsourcing by the crime lab because the crime lab has a contract now with the company in Pennsylvania called the an NMS lab, that will do toxicology outsourcing for the crime lab. In addition you appropriated $500000 dollars none recurring to the comprehensive DA's for them to conduct top toxicology testing
in conjuction with their local hospital. So they can sign a contract with their local hospital saying non-injury DUI cases to the hospital for that test and then the lab results in that area from the hospital, comes to do the test mainly rather than someone from the crime lab. The director sent a letter to the DA yesterday or Friday listing out there's 2, 000 cases that are eligible to be $500000 can be used for a hospital toxicology by the DA. They apparently five districts have contracts with their local hospitals, and 389 tests have been conducted. They've spent $22000 of that $500000. You've also made some significant policy changes you changed the notice from the defense statute, so if the defense does not file a written objection, the crime lab of course shall be admissible with evidence without the analyst testimony and that is a change, previously it was permissive language. You've also authorized video testimony, this is since something that the school of government is concerned is going to be found to be unconstitutional, so I think that they are still trying to find the perfect test case or judge DA and the defense is all willing to test it out and let it go up to the supreme court and how made to whether or not remote testimony is in fact constitutional, in the mean time, you've authorized it, so you've done everything you could there and then you require crime lab full of government work and conjunction the training for the DA's and the judges there on the crime lab process is evidence permission training and how the crime lab works because their seems to be some disconnect you're standing at the district level between how the problem works and what was actually happening. And then, finally the last piece on the testicology and we'll see if we have answered question at [xx] is what are the stakeholders doing because it's not just the crime lab it's not just the general assembly there's a third branch of government that's involved here and that is the judges and DA, so what are they doing? So the school of the government can be into working group to talk about this issue and they came up with several recommendations including things that can be done at the district in calendering, motion appearing to help better utilize the analyst time they're only spending 9% of the total court hours actually testifying, so there are things that they can be done by the district to help elevate that time stack, they also encouraging more utilization by the DA's forensic advantage system and more comrade support order. About 11 districts have signed the memorandums of the agreements implementing the working groups recommendations so far and an additional 21 are currently working on that. Mr. Chair stop for a minute if Rev, Dr. Question not answered [xx] how much time did someone all important pages in ward counties sent their samples to the Chairman Daltrey, you are asking about the turn around time and the turn around time currently as we speak for all the disciplines is over a year, however we have a rush program in place that DA all he has to do, or she to request that rush request, and we can turn that around in about a couple of weeks. We can turnaround, if we know about it and if we're given enough time to pull it out of order and work that case. We're also in the process, and I will tell you too that we keep increasing the production by pulling people out of training, as they complete their training they go online. We've been able to just about completely reduce the, we're only working the rush cases in blood alcohol. It is the blood drug that we still need some help which is why we went to outsourcing an EMS, but even that we're reducing the amount of cases that we have. The whole laboratory since January of 2014, using all of the processes that Christine spoke about earlier, we've reduced the total were numbers by 26% in the lab, we're making great progress, Sir. In mid-summer, we're going to be sending the 10 new toxicologists up to the Western Lab to begin working cases up there. They will actually begin working cases in early Summer in Raleigh as we get them online, we don't
want to send brand new analysts to the Western lab without having some limited experience. So, we're going to work them here in Raleigh for a couple of months and then send them directly to the Western lab, and of course they'll be working those western counties. So, very soon we're going to be able to really drop the tremendous number of cases that we have on hand that the turnaround time again, if we know about it, we can turn it around in very short order. We just have to have that notice from the DA that we can do that. sorry, that's all. Every time that part of Lean six process is to do something called continuous process improvement. The very fact we do that constantly to figure out what is the different way to do it, how can we increase the efficiency, in fact the laboratory managers meet with me yesterday we did another continuous process improvement cycle to come up, with we came up with some additional measures that we are going to put in place. I will tell you sir that their is no one more concerned about getting that time down than me, and it is my challenge and I am going to get that time down to a reasonable manner, we just need a little more time to get the folks out of training we have 12 folks in training currently, the lavatory in the West will be open in ray the toxicology expansion renovation will be ready mid summer, just a couple of more three four months and we're going to start see tremendous drop in the number of cases that we have. Kerry I have got representative [xx] Representative Falcolf, and the senator [xx]. Questions. Director Bud, yes so we do, and that's part of my job as director, I reached out to our Forensic Science buggery report we start to look at their numbers as well as just polling lavatories in our region state lavatories so they match the kind of work that we do. What we found sir is that we are very consistent with other lavatories around the country. There is also a working group of West Virginia University, their group is called The Foresight project, they are actually collecting data from around the country, from State Republic lavatories as well as the FBI laboratory. It's interesting so that as we look at the numbers from last several years, the production numbers that my staff are producing is higher on average in any other public laboratories in our region. I give that credit to the link sesame[sp?] processes and the other efficiencies that we put in place in the laboratory. So at the end of the day, are we where we need to be? No, Sir, but we are making great progress, and making great strides in that direction, and I really believe the light is at the end of the tunnel. Last year, I felt like we could see the smoke from the hooves of the cavalry as they were coming down the hill, I believe we can actually see the hooves coming down the hill now because we're getting closed. I can get those folks out of training this summer, and we also have DNA analysts that are in training. We have drug veteran training in our three big areas are drug chemistry, toxicology and DNA, and in all three of those areas, there's concerted effort to get folks out of training and online producing cases to get a turn around down. OK that's it. OK senator [xx] he had a question. And I'm not sure he's going to address this but on [xx] thing when we talk about the software content, and the [xx] figure out the cause of [xx] for each [xx] cases do you change the line when they did [xx] I'm not sure I'm Peggy Doe with the conference of district attorney, these were cases The pace had already been resolved without needing the lab work completed and so they no longer needed to do anything with it, so it wasn't anything that they didn't have. Thank you Peg.
Another question sir. Thank you and on page 17 when we talk about the legislation of the authorized data, is there any on that can update us on the status of the first [xx] or video [xx] Maybe loud for loud enough for a total broadcasting out [xx] division staff, just to clarify what you authorized is, you authorized video testimony to incur with a consent of the descendant, which is, we believe completely constitutional, but there's no question I think that what the statue currently says it's constitutional. The question is whether or not we could allow the testimony if the dependent objected to that, and that is where we're just not whether or not that would be found to be constitutional, and so ideally the only way that we would know that would be for that to happen and for a case to go up to the apparent level and for that the determination be made by court. I do not know that anyone is actively looking for that test case to happen, but that would be not something that the state would actually create to happen, it would have to kind of happened in a natural, order of things. Well O. K. I'm having a meeting with several District Attorneys who are willing to participate in taking the case up, so I'm just hoping that at some point we can move in that direction. John [xx] again through Lab Director. We have a work group within the lab my prayer session just [xx] is here today actually started that group. They are working there, they actually meet every week to and they have several districts, they have said they are willing, they have actually identified some districts, and I think at this point they're trying to finalize the technology, takes a tremendous amount of technology to put all this together. Kind of anecdotal, the laboratory is basically ready to go, but we've got the get the courtroom ready to go. And as soon as we do that, and identify, I believe the districts are ready to move forward that will identify a case probably in short order. Thank you. That concludes your ground[sp?] [xx] and judge John is going to see you here, we have always been a family, we certainly appreciate your presence. Let's see, I have a question from Representative Graham Thank you Chair. My question is on page 17 referring to the hospital hospitality Good question, I think several others said that. Director Bird[sp?], did you? Director Bird[sp?], I will tell you that I have reached out to our partners in the District Attorney's offices, Senator Gram to get them to help us with this and all I can do is reach out, I've sent multiple letters to them sir, I have worked hand in hand with the Executive Director of Conference DA [xx] is also here this morning. She's been a standing partner with the crime laboratory from the beginning, and it's work with us to help us do that. At the end of the day the answer to the question was as with the district attorney sir. Peg would you mind commenting on this. I'm Peg Doe with the comfort of district attorney, I think that the idea for this this came about from one of the district attorneys who had been quite successful with it and he already had a relationship with his hospital this DA's who have been successful have already have a relationship with the hospital. Most of the DA's don't and I think they have not been very successful in getting their hospitals to come on board. I think we can have a little more success with a little bit more time to kind of get the DA's in the right mind to sell it to their hospitals but a lot of hospitals are just staying upfront especially the big ones. No way, we're not interested. And would you mind commenting on why?
I guess that they don't see that they have a role in that, they did it's not cost effective for them, I don't know why, but. OK, the reason I ask, I just, I had heard, I don't know if this is true or not, the personnel from the hospital hospital would have to be present in court proceedings etcetera, and so they're concerned about having someone tied up as we are all in experts for weeks and weeks on a court case and I assume this may be the reason, I don't know if you heard that or not. And this is exactly why I think we need to take a little more time with the DAs and train them because part of the success is to work with the hospitals to consolidate all those cases on one day. One day a month we're going to do our DWIs, so it's only one day that they're out of the office, so I just think it's going to take a little bit of time to educate them on how to make this streamlined. [xx] Peg, thank you very much. OK, that said we have any other questions? If not, I guess we will move on. Are you ready? Yes. OK, so I'm going to move on from toxicology. The next thing I wanted to talk about our fees, again there is no charge to local law enforcement for the services of the crime lab. It is a free service provided by the state to the counties There are fees assessed on the defendant, so there's a $600 court fee that is assessed on offenders. This is a lab, what we call the lab fee, it's for DNA toxicology and drug chemistry cases. We just take to the local or the state lab, and court fees are assessed at the discretion of the judge. In addition, there is a $2 court fee assessed on all offenders, and this is the DNAC[sp?], that's a statutory appropriation which means that you all wrote into the statute that the funds are appropriated to DOJ. They received about $1.4 million in 2013/14 from these two fees. The next slide I wanted to show you. Representative Jackson. There's actually a third fee, which is the court appearance fee of $600 that's in the statute. Could you tell us how many of those have been collected and how that compares[sp?] or how many have been assessed and how that compares to the number of aided[sp?] you had to defend the courtroom, but the way I read the statute is it says, It shall be assessed, not it doesn't give the judge discretion, it says shall, and I'm just wondering if that is actually being assessed. Christine. There's two parts to your question, and I'm going to let Chief [xx] answer the part about the show and whatever, but it's my understanding they can waive any court fee, but if you look at the chart on the next page, on page 20, the slide. The pink on the bottom is the expert witness fee, the $600 expert witness, it says 0000, and then in 13/14 an amazing $18, 000 was collected for that particular fee. So on the other two the blue one at the top is the forensic testing fee, the other $600 fee and then the green one with the squares is the DNA database fee. Representative just one second Representative Jackson I'm all that expert Susan[s?] speech first then we'll come back to another question if you wish. Thank you Mr. Chair, Susan Price[sp?] Research Division. Representative Jackson if you will look actually up in subsection A of 7A304 there's expert witness fees which are subdivisions 11 and 12 are expressly authorized for the courts to waive and apparently the courts have made a habit of waiving these expert witness fees. Representative Jackson did you have another question? I think I'll have a session of revision for me [xx] but $18, 000 collected, $600 of fee that's what, 30 cases? Well and remember too Mr. chair if you don't mind. So a defendant, a defendant is found guilty of a crime and has accepted his court fees and these court fees may be well over a few thousand dollars including restitution so he's paying on time, he's going to pay $20 here or if he's in prison he's making $5 a week. So, they're not necessarily all paying $600 at that one time, and I think William brought you all a chart last week that showed how the funds are apportioned out, and so every little piece is getting a prior[sp?] out share. So you can't really divide 600 into 18, 000 and say that many cases were assessed. Representative Jackson, you have a follow-up?
Alright, go ahead. But you would dare to tell me from AOC's database the number of times that fee is assessed if it would have a code on the court call sheet, would it not? Sure, this question came up in 2013 when we were talking about the crime lab and if I remember correctly, I'm looking at Mildred, they cannot tell us in how many cases this fee was assessed and then not paid. So, they can only tell us what, yes, it goes back to the green screen actually, but Mildred may want to lean further on that Mildred, did you want to speak to this? If you would. Mildred Spearman for AOC. I will check, but I think Christine right. We can not drill down to that level of detail on whether or not that fee was waived OK, Senator Newton, did you have a question? Well, I just wanted to make a brief comment [xx] This is exactly what continual problem that we've had, it doesn't matter that you're trying to get data that we can to get useful information that would be useful for us to make decisions to. O. K. [xx] represent O. K. Go ahead if you think we're spending a lot of time [xx] trying to get defendants to allow for remote testimony or allow for an affidavit to be use some distant court it appears to me that the way to get that is to say the $600 is going to be assessed and paid if you require an analyst to appear. I think a lot more defendants will waive that appearance if they had for paying that $600, but I just hope that's something that Chairs will keep in mind as the committee begin the [xx] process. Alright, thank you Representative Jackson, Senator you can go ahead. [xx] [xx] Okay, Senator Randleman. That was the purpose for the provision of the expert witness fee, was to kind of move these cases long and also begin to think about what the cost would be [xx] Okay, no further questions, let's move on. So, the last thing I wanted to say about this [xx] is the arch on the blue, court fee collections for this are going down and this is a chunk of the crime lab's budget. So, when they do not collect these court fees the crime lab does not get the receipts, and then they get there are things they cannot doing more like mandatory overtime for their scientists while they try to clear backlog. In 12/13, the $600 court fee collected sent for 1.3 million in 13-14 that number had dropped to 906, 000 they are just something to keep in mind that is a significant part of the crime lab budget. Next I know you will always have questions about local lab, I'm not talking about private labs here I'm talking about locally operated labs that're operated by either a county or a city police department, there are five slide you may remember the slide from 2013 in we tried to update all the information and the only one we could not get in touch with was Pitt County who I'm not entirely sure of Pitt County status, but I'll try to get that information for you. Charlotte and Merck does firearms tool marks, latent prints, stored chemistry, toxicology, alcohol only, fire debris and forensic biology. City County here and Wake County does latent prints, drug chemistry and tox, and digital evidence. Wilmington does toxicology and solid dish[sp?] narcotics and Iredell does latent prints and drug chemistry, they used to do toxicology that they lost their toxicologist and it is not clear whether or not they're going to get the funding to restore that position. So the locally funding the local order funded by county or city court cost city budget, court cost and receipt [xx] formal charges for some of their services and again they have to be accredited by July
1st, 2016. These labs were all started at the local level caption of a petty counting which customarily they must started by the general assembly in 1937 there. The rest of them were locally, they were organically grown from the county level. The county folks decided that they needed a lab, they have the funding for a lab, they have the wherewithal to set one up and [xx] they get. It is very important to remember that while while these local labs exist, every single one of these counties still send evidence to the state [xx] Representative Jackson, do you have another question? I have a follow-up on that, but it's to the Crime lab. Certainly, go ahead. So, I know that like in Wayne County they're getting turn around in about a month on the ones they've locally processed but have they gone back and the ones that are in [xx] [xx] federal state seven months old [xx] what does that be shipped to the institute [xx]. Yes sir it does representative Jackson [xx] director, the answer is no. And if I might clarify the [xx] laboratory only those blood alcohol, we still receive their blood drug analysis as well. Representative Zak could you do you have a follower? How long would it be to get the evidence from your lab to their lab? Is that something mailed or? Is that labor intensive just to move? And would it be worth it, or? It's not labor intensive, it does require a little bit of work on our part to do that but it could be done in week's turn-around-time. Okay, no other question let's move on. Okay, next here is a [xx] budget history and he's relatively stable and then the General Assembly appropriated quite a bit of my 14, 15 [xx] but it's budget 18.9 million, that does include one and a half million dollars non-recurring funding that you appropriated equipment for the western lab. Their base budget, the money again the budget you're going to be starting with and adjusting for going forward for 15 and 17 is $17.9 million. The next slide have their base budget broken down, 83 percent of their first budget is personal services, $14.7 million dollars for people, about 12 percent on purchase services, 3 percent on supplies and 1 percent on property in equipment and then 1 percent in other. Their receipt come from better [xx] and these [xx] they got 10% of their budget is coming from our seat. Also got a position by category for you and the crime I made, objected my adman counting that doesn't create office's assistant that maybe in various sections, there are 77 of their position are in fact sciences, 10 percent are technicians and about 13 percent are what I have categorized as [xx] men Christina Rauhman, you have question. On [xx] [xx] personal service contracts would be part of the purchase services category, that category also include telephone, data internet leases for the [xx] lab and the western lab too the lease cost [xx] if is few hundred thousand I kick it back to you and I'll do that. out of the 12 excuse me out of the 12 person is, which one posses the contract sir I could go through my notebook and in
five minutes get back to you. Yes let's, in that Okay so let's move ahead I don't think we're going anywhere probably. No. I want to take a minute to talk about physicians in the crime lab form versus non-form this has been an issue for several years and I've put this letter typically for the last time, 72% of the common positions are known for and 28% are sworn and 2000 times 12 that it was more like 46-54% and Danielle had provisions in the budget every year that said they could only hire sworn physicians for starters certain cast and then in 2013, you finally prohibited the hiring of sworn positions at all, as you all can see that swan[sp?] vs non swan[sp?], yes I'm sorry by swan[sp?] I mean swa[sp?] n law enforcement officers the reason that, that is important in the the tour [xx] enforcement officers actually cost the state more that non [xx] enforcement officers not much more in the grand scheme of things it does add up, and I've got. [xx]. Yes. [xx]. Yes sir Mr. Chair involved because when the lab was created the lab was created in the State Bureau for Investigation and so their were swarm FBI agents through forensic scientists, but that process has been extended. And I want talk for a minute to about positions hiring qualification and training and as you did last year, I was at 19, you talked to colleges and at with a 10 DNA. The hiring process in the chrome labs can take off 2-6 months or longer and they go through very extensive background checks once they've gone through the hiring process and then if you fail the background check, well they got to start all over again. So it's not, when you add positions to them they don't immediately get filled and start working. There's usually between the time that you add a position in and the time that position is actually able to start doing analysis on their end. And then finally I've gotaa recent budget action again in 2013 after we discussed you funded 19 new toxicology positions along with equipment. Those are for the western lab, and that should be up and running mid summer according to the director. You also $750, 000 in the second year for toxicology outsourcing fund. In 2014 you came back and reduced that amount to 250, 000 and then you provided 500, 000 non-recurring to the conference of DA for the hospital toxicology. Last year you transferred five admin positions from the FBI. We moved the FBI out of DOJ and TBPS and at the same time you took five positions out of FBI and made them into crime labs. You also reduced the toxicology outsourcing funds to 250, 000, you funded 10 DNA positions in the western lab, and you provided capital funding for a new Western Crime Lab to be built on the Asheville Campus in the western part of the state and not I believe the director said that the contract for that is out now and hopefully they will have a builder reprieved within 30 days and so that building break ground in the summer. Mr. Chair that is all I have if anyone has any question. Representative Harley. Thank you Mr. Chair, this [xx] wont take long in the analysis recently Director Berg. Representative Hurley, John Berg Lab Director. All these tools are wonderful tools to help us but as you've noted how many have we lost? In January I lost one of my brainy toxicologist that was in training, that would have come out in the Spring and in February I lost another toxicologist, so the bill that I think representative Stephen has introduced for the 10% is critically important to shut the backdoor my attrition in the laboratory, can I answer you question representative Verla[sp?]? Representative Burr is that exclusively the cause of pain? is the reason you lost [xx] One of the positions was lost because of pay the other one was caused by a change in location. I understand. Senator Newton do you have a question? Thank you Mr. Chair and this maybe a question for
staff [xx] back on 17 [xx] we're talking about the $500, 000 [xx] for the announcements[sp?] in the toxicology in the [xx] hospitals. I understood that number $23, 000 that had actually been spent. Is that correct? OK [xx] if you would picked over the comfort of district attorney what it 22 is that 22, 000 yeah inhibiting the use of these funds and right now it's only limited to hospitals, that was how we set it up. Is that obviously it's not working very well at this point [xx] about why that might be with conference District Attorneys. A couple of things: I think that the large hospitals have just said flat out no, they're not interested. It's not a cost benefit for them. all hospitals unless the DA has relationship with that hospitals, had not been very agreeable, I think, given a little time together to understand how they can sell this to the hospitals as the community service a little bit a guarantee that they will not going to take your lab technicians help everyday that they will consolidate this cases and put them on the same quoting and then the fun thing is that I think it's some of the steps that the Court's commission has done, loosen the language with a 500, 000 perhaps we will be able the contract with some private labs to address the blood drug which we're not able to address right now. [xx] will you not be statutory authority to loosen it up. Yes, and I was referring to the courts commission has done some work on that. if we could have the ability to contract with some private labs that are in North Carolina to do the blood drug, and if I could spend a little time with the elected DAs to teach them how to sell it we'd probably burn through that money pretty quickly, like within a year or two. OK, let's see if we have any other questions before we adjourn. Representative Howard. Thank you, Mr. Chair, I wanted to ask about accreditation. I know we have two accreditations, will that continue and if so, what's the cost of both? OK. Director Byrd, I don't know if you want to answer that or? Yes Sir. John Byrd, lab director. The cost of that is about 60, 000 per accredited ADC per year, so about $120, 000 a year for that. I'm sorry, and we do pay that from lab salary. Yes, Ma'am. OK, is that good? Do you have a follow-up? OK. On the [xx]. John Burr lab direction that want the a position of ombudsman was created by this distinguished body and, however, the funding for that position also comes out of my lab salary thanks, yes madam, Rick [xx] had a question. Thanks Mr. Chairman I think we perhaps have not stressed enough that we're putting[sp?] a big load on the District Attorney work in the hospitals and [xx] the best can contact with the hospitals are the local law enforcement agencies. We have the most cases at the regulations [xx] so I would hope the District Attorney and the Chief of Association at the Sheriff's Association[sp?] we get together and work as a team [xx]. That's a good point thank you, Representative Faircloth. Let's see, is anyone else have a OK, Representative Turner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a question about do we have any bad [xx] on medical lab and sort of their effieciency Representative Turner, John Barry, Crime Lab Director, the officiency that we've been able to create, I cannot speak this equally about the State Crime Laboratory, can not about the local labs however the State Crime Laboratory just in, since January 2014 with all of the efficiency models that we put in place, we've been able to drop our turn around by 26 percent. That number percentage continues to increase as we bring more people online, which is good news. In 13-14 we were able to complete based on the number of cases that came into the laboratory during the 13-14 year and how many cases we completed we completed over 13% more than what came in the front door, so that's very positive news for our laboratory we just did a little more term and then the shot that back door on nutrition, so I can keep those scientists there, takes us too long to get them trained Go ahead. Representative Turner, okay. Representative Bowles yes sir that'll require my director, you are referring to our accreditation calls I believe, so, we are by two entities, one is the FQS (Friends and Quality Services), the second one is ASC Lab, the American Society Crime Lab directors laboratory accreditation board. Each one of those must come in once a year to do a site survey, surveillance visit is what it's and then that process through the course of the year is 60, 000 per entity for accreditation. So FQS charges us 60, 000, ASCLD/LAB charges us 60, 000 and that's an annual cost that we take from lab salary I just heard 100 name, but that's an understatement. And that may have been my talking on the fly, and my brain not engaging not quickly enough. OK, let's see I've got Chris Page could you tell me. We want to follow up on that accreditation OK, that's alright. Sorry. And do you [XX] do you plan to continue with same rules of accreditation? Representative Boles, John Byrd Lab Director. That's a policy decision that will be determined by my boss, the attorney general. And that a [xx] and in [xx] district Ombudsman? Yes Sir. [xx] I'm sorry the question? [xx] The statute actually requires the ombudsman to remain in the laboratory, that's the statutory requirement from the. Yes Sir. Does that answer your question? [xx]. The [xx] you have an advisory board? Yes Sir, that's correct. On any point of this compensation as far as due to preservation of [xx] policy by the Attorney General [xx] Not being able to speak for the Attorney General, but I'm sure that the Advisory Board is there to consult with him If you should, we would require that from them. Okay, now [xx] I'm sorry, Go ahead [xx], how much did you talk about [xx] that is approximately 106, $110, 000 a year, let's say personal services contract but it requires an attorney. [xx] We are talking about $50 an hour. Thank you Senator Jackson, Senators in reply or have another one. Now I would like to
ask Peg if you don't mind. Peg because of the, and I know this has been improved to the [xx] greatly and we appreciate the work you've done Judge funds and Director Byrd, but has there been several cases dismissed that you're aware of and could you come in on it. On it totally, I've had 7 DAs say they have had cases dismissed because they've just gotten too old, but I don't know of any specifically. Let me, before I let you answer that, Senator Jackson, let me ask one other question, in that being said because of these cases being dismissed, is there a possibility or any protocol for let's say a family that wish to, that they are willing to pay for these lab costs, and etc. Is that ever been a problem approached or talked about? To send this to in other words, say my family would like to have some of these test done to help the crime lab etc. To prosecute someone could they send it to an independent lab out of state or somewhere else to prosecute someone in this case, have you ever heard of such? I have not ever heard of such, and not being an attorney I'd suggest you ask an attorney that kind of question. That's the reason. There's a lot of smart attorneys in here. I'm broaching the question and just wondered because I could see that some folks would be willing to do that, especially if they ended up seeing a case dismissed. Rep. Jackson just let me let them answer if you don't mind. Director. John Byrd Lab Director. To my knowledge there has been a request for that kind of service. However to my knowledge, I don't believe we've ever executed that. I stand corrected. My manager's telling me we have done that. I would though refer to some of our district attorney's to whether they are okay with that. We are also have the contract within the NMS there's a method to do that the reason I asked it is because of that duty card with anything we would need to do to make it easier or safer for use so that we wouldn't end up in some type of illegal problem I don't know, who can answer that. we have to do our homework on that. Okay, last week when we adjourned we appreciate everybody, we had a lot of heat from successor and we thank everybody for coming, we stand adjourned. Thank you again.