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FBI gave flawed testimony in trials before 2000: Report

Press TV – April 19, 2015

The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have admitted that almost every examiner with an FBI forensic unit presented flawed testimony in trials in which they provided evidence against criminal defendants for over two decades before 2000.

Out of 28 examiners working for the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches so that it favored prosecutors in over 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project.

NACDL and the Innocence Project are currently aiding the government with the largest post-conviction review of dubious forensic evidence, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

The cases were related to 32 defendants who received death sentences, of whom 14 have been executed or died in prison so far, the groups said.

The two bodies are under an agreement with the US government to disclose results after the review of the first 200 convictions has been completed.

Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, said, “The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.”

“We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner,” Neufeld said.

Mistakes made by the FBI alone do not mean that there was no other evidence to prove a convict’s guilt.

Defendants and federal and state prosecutors in 46 states and the District of Columbia are being urged to provide grounds for appeals as four defendants were previously exonerated.

Legal analysts believe that the acknowledgment marks one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, showing how the US courts have not been able to do their job properly for decades to protect false scientific information from juries.

Long-suspected problems with forensic techniques, including hair and bite-mark comparisons, have resulted in wrongful convictions in over one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.

April 19, 2015 - Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , ,

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