The Washington Post is reporting today that thousands of defendants have been convicted and imprisoned based on faulty FBI crime lab reports. Worse, the Justice Department has known about FBI lab problems since the 1990’s, yet have failed to inform defendants or defense counsel of their findings. The Post reports that hundreds remain in prison, and one man in Texas was executed based on faulty FBI lab work.
Post reporter Spencer S. Hsu found that hundreds of people remain in prison based on faulty FBI crime lab reports. After learning about thousands of inaccurate reports, the Justice Department informed its prosecutors, but not defense counsel or the judge.
FBI laboratory screw-ups occurred in:
- DNA Testing
- Fingerprint Matching
- Handwriting Analysis
- Polygraph Testing
- Firearm Testing
- Hair & Fiber Testing
- Tire and Wheel Mark Testing
- Bullet Lead Composition
Defense lawyers were never told of a 9-year Justice Department study documenting these grave errors. One defense attorney learned that his client had been convicted on faulty evidence by reading the Washington Post.
Hsu writes about two defendants in Superior Court who were convicted based on faulty hair analysis evidence. FBI experts testified that hair evidence proved that the defendants committed the crimes. Later DNA analysis by independent experts proved that they could not have committed the crimes.
While the Justice Department has found thousands of cases with inaccurate FBI lab work, it has only reviewed a small number of cases. The D.C. Superior Court cases were not part of their review. When errors were found, only the prosecutors were informed because the Justice Department said they were “not required to inform defendants directly.” Really?
Source: Washington Post
Categories: FBI lab