Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FBI overstated hair match crisis: (15); (The Emperor's Clothes); Reaction reaches political level as Democratic senator's urge the Justice Department and the FBI to "take steps to correct the incredible injustices the review has revealed and to strengthen the science and standards underpinning forensic science.” Rollcall.

STORY: "Senators urge action on FBI's use of faulty forensic evidence," by reporter Matthew Fleming, published by on April 28, 2015;

GIST:  "A group of Democratic senators on Tuesday urged action from the Justice Department and the FBI in response to a recent FBI study showing erroneous and invalid testimony in 96 percent of cases analyzed involving microscopic hair analysis. The study also revealed 32 defendants of the 257 cases found to be prosecuted on faulty forensic evidence had been sentenced to death. “We are deeply disturbed to learn that hundreds of potentially innocent defendants were imprisoned or even executed based at least in part on flawed evidence,” the senators wrote. “We commend the Department of Justice (“the Department”) and the FBI for voluntarily undertaking this review. We now request that you  take steps to correct the incredible injustices the review has revealed and to strengthen the science and standards underpinning forensic science.” The letter calls for a three-pronged response to the study: that the Justice Department review the use of microscopic hair analysis in prosecutions by the FBI; that the Justice Department give those who have been convicted using erroneous microscopic hair analysis evidence a “full and fair opportunity to challenge their convictions” instead of simply just being informed of the error; and that the Justice Department and FBI work with the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to review the processes and standards of other disciplines of forensic science to identify opportunities for “stronger standards, better training, and further scientific research.”

The entire story can be found at:

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