State v. McDonald, 216 N.C. App. 161 (Oct. 4, 2011)

(1) In a drug case, no plain error occurred when the trial court allowed the State’s expert forensic chemist to testify as to the results of his chemical analysis of the substance in question. Through the expert’s testimony as to his professional background and use of established forensic techniques, the State met its burden of establishing “indices of reliability,” as contemplated in Howerton. The court noted that although the laboratory was not accredited the defendant provided no legal authority establishing that accreditation is required when the forensic chemist who conducted the analysis at issue testifies at trial (the lab was licensed). (2) The court rejected the defendant’s argument that the expert’s lab report was inadmissible under G.S. 8-58.20(b) because the lab was not accredited. That statutory provision is relevant only when the State seeks to have the report admitted without the testimony of the preparer.