Seth Edwards, president of the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, said that he supported a moratorium on the execution of any death row inmates whose cases include evidence from the State Bureau of Investigation. “[W]e need to make sure the issues are resolved in the SBI crime lab,” Edwards said. “I just feel like the public right now is skeptical.” Last month, a government audit showed that the lab had tampered with evidence and issued false reports in over 230 criminal convictions, including capital cases.

The scandal at the SBI lab and recent studies revealing racial disparities in jury selection and sentencing in death penalty cases have raised concerns among others in the state regarding the reliability of the justice system in North Carolina. A group of supporters for Melvin Lee White, a death row inmate convicted before revelations about the crime lab began to appear, is asking that he be given a new trial or that at least his sentence be reduced to life. White has always maintained his innocence.

(A. Blythe, “Put off some executions, DA agrees,” News and Observer, August 31, 2010). Read more New Voices. See Race. Read the press release from the supporters of Melvin White.