Wednesday, April 15, 1987
'Expert' Admits Lying on Credentials Felony convictions endangered
By Thomas J. Maier and Joshua Quittner
Ira S. DuBey, a former Suffolk crime lab deputy director who said he has
testified as an expert witness in more than 200 trials, pleaded guilty yesterday
to three counts of perjury after admitting that he lied about his credentials in
21 Suffolk cases.
The plea opened the door for appeals that could result in new trials in
each of the 21 convictions, most of which were murders, rapes and other violent
George Grun of the Suffolk Legal Aid Society, which handled 13 of
"This doesn't mean every one of these cases will be knocked
out," Pierre G. Lundberg, the special assistant district attorney, said in
an interview yesterday. Lundberg was appointed to investigate the DuBey
case after allegations about DuBey's academic credentials were raised in a
recent Newsday series.
the terms of a plea bargain, DuBey would be spared jail
DuBey would not comment after a hearing before Rohl in Hauppauge
As part of a deal worked out between Catterson and Lundberg, DuBey
pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of perjury. He had been
charged in a complaint yesterday with three felony counts of first-degree
perjury for lying about his academic backround during testimony in three
homicide trials from 1980 to 1982.
DuBey agreed to resign from 10 professional clubs and societies,
including the American Society of Forensic Sciences, which had begun its own
investigation of the allegations, and he agreed to mail transcripts of
yesterday's court proceedings to seven of the clubs.
According to court transcripts, DuBey said he had a bachelor's degree in
biology from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in
forensic science from the City University of New York. In reality, DuBey had
completed the coursework for a master's degree from John Jay College of Criminal
Justice but had never completed his thesis, and he took his undergraduate degree
at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island
DuBey, 35, who now lives in Baltimore, was second-in-command of the crime
lab until 1985, when he quit to accept a job as director of the Maryland state
crime lab. He resigned under fire from his post last month after a review by the
office of the Maryland state police chief. Officials there said his resignation
was prompted by reports that he misstated his credentials in Suffolk trials and
because the police chief was unhappy with DuBey's management of the Maryland
In a series of articles last December, Newsday also reported that two top
Suffolk prosecutors were warned in late 1983 about questions concerning DuBey's
credentials but did not disclose the information to District Attorney Patrick
Henry. Following the report, Henry asked State Supreme Court Justice Thomas
Stark, presiding judge of the Suffolk criminal courts, to appoint a special
prosecutor. Stark later appointed Lundberg, a former judge.
Yesterday, in an interview, Lundberg said his investigation was
continuing. But, he noted, there is no evidence thus far that any prosecutors
did anything illegal or improper.
Henry said the impact of DuBey's lying about his credentials was not yet
clear. "If the case turned on the testimony then it could be considered
material," Henry said. "It still doesn't mean the case could
be overturned. It's up to the judge."
Catterson compared DuBey's perjury to a person stretching his credentials
when he applies for a job. "I think it's part of the accoutrements of
But Vincent Crispino, chief of the county crime lab, said that since he
took over the lab in August, 1985, he has directed the police
department to conduct background checks to verify applicants' credentials