Even though the courts are currently holding only a limited number of essential hearings to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, attorneys who are teleworking may still need to hold pretrial conferences with forensic scientists. While in-person meetings are not possible at this time, there are still options for holding remote meetings with forensic pathologists and crime lab analysts.
Forensic pathologists from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) are available to hold conferences via Zoom and WebEx or by phone. Interested attorneys should contact the doctor they wish to speak with to determine their preference among these options. The OCME staff directory can be found here. It should be noted that because pathologists’ state-issued computers may or may not be equipped with cameras, some doctors might be unable to videoconference.
The North Carolina State Crime Lab (NCSCL) analysts are also available to meet with attorneys remotely. NCSCL analysts should have computers with webcams. Attorneys can reach out to analysts individually to determine their preference in terms of conferencing over the phone or via WebEx (Zoom is discouraged due to security concerns). Attorneys should be prepared to show their appointment paperwork to the analyst before discussing their case.