Expert Services Project
IDS launched a pilot project on Apr. 1, 2022, to improve attorney access to expert consultation. Experts in a limited number of fields will be available to consult only with public defender and IDS contract attorneys through a contract with IDS. Please complete the linked form to request expert assistance with Digital Forensic or Drug Chemistry evidence. If your request is approved, you can begin working with an expert without seeking funding through the court. More information about the program is available here. Contact Sarah Olson (Sarah.R.Olson@nccourts.org) if you have questions.
Sex Offense Consultation
IDS offers no-cost consultation on court appointed sex offense cases with attorneys Lisa Dubs and Susan Seahorn who are accomplished trial attorneys with extensive experience in litigating felony sex offense cases. Please complete this linked form to request consultation. Additionally, Ms. Dubs and Ms. Seahorn have a website available here.
Other Forensic Consultations
Forensic Resource Counsel Sarah Rackley Olson is available to consult with attorneys and investigators about the scientific evidence in any court appointed or public defender case. Currently, consultations can be over email, phone, or WebEx. In a confidential consultation, we can discuss appropriate experts for the case, review lab reports or other discovery, and discuss legal challenges to unreliable scientific evidence. Assistance with drafting motions and cross-examination questions is available.
About Forensic Resource Counsel
The Office of Indigent Defense Services provides assistance to North Carolina attorneys litigating complex scientific evidence through its Forensic Resource Counsel. Lawyer Sarah Rackley Olson works with public defenders and private appointed counsel and improves counsel’s ability to understand forensic science evidence and achieve better outcomes in their cases.
Through individual case consultations, continuing legal education programs, and the Forensic Resources website, Sarah educates attorneys about relevant forensic science issues and assists with litigating claims related to forensic evidence at the trial, appellate and post-conviction phases of representation. Resources including sample motions, information about experts, lab procedures, online trainings, relevant publications and news articles are easily accessible through the website.
It is the policy of the IDS Forensic Resource Counsel to protect the confidentiality of all communications regarding case consultation. Any information provided during a consultation with the Forensic Resource Counsel will be treated as confidential client information and covered under the Rules of Professional Conduct as appropriate. Release of any confidential information discussed with the Forensic Resource Counsel will require informed consent of the client whose information is requested.
About Sarah Rackley Olson
Prior to working as Forensic Resource Counsel, Sarah was an Assistant Public Defender in Durham, NC where she represented clients in Durham’s District and Superior Courts. After law school Sarah completed a fellowship with the Fair Trial Initiative where she worked as a part of defense teams representing clients in capital cases throughout North Carolina. She has served as Chair of the Criminal Defense Section for the NC Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), Co-Chair of the NCAJ Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, and Co-Chair of the Forensic Science Resource Committee for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Sarah is a North Carolina native who graduated summa cum laude from the Wake Forest University in 2001 and earned her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 2006.