Skip to comments.Review of FBI forensics does not extend to federally trained state, local examiners
Posted on 12/26/2012 8:14:12 PM PST by Altariel
Thousands of criminal cases at the state and local level may have relied on exaggerated testimony or false forensic evidence to convict defendants of murder, rape and other felonies.
The forensic experts in these cases were trained by the same elite FBI team whose members gave misleading court testimony about hair matches and later taught the local examiners to follow the same suspect practices, according to interviews and documents.
In July, the Justice Department announced a nationwide review of all cases handled by the FBI Laboratorys hair and fibers unit before 2000 at least 21,000 cases to determine whether improper lab reports or testimony might have contributed to wrongful convictions.
But about three dozen FBI agents trained 600 to 1,000 state and local examiners to apply the same standards that have proved problematic.
None of the local cases is included in the federal review. As a result, legal experts say, although the federal inquiry is laudable, the number of flawed cases at the state and local levels could be even higher, and those are going uncorrected.
The FBI review was prompted by a series of articles in The Washington Post about errors at the bureaus renowned crime lab involving microscopic hair comparisons. The articles highlighted the cases of two District men who each spent more than 20 years in prison based on false hair matches by FBI experts. Since The Posts articles, the men have been declared innocent by D.C. Superior Court judges.
Two high-profile local-level cases illustrate how far the FBI training problems spread.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
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