Saturday, April 25, 2015

FBI overstated hair match evidence; (10); (The Emperor's Clothes): The Daily Beast on Willie Manning: "On death row for the wrong hair."... “There was massive scientific illiteracy at the FBI crime lab for multiple decades, or this was done deliberately. There’s plenty of evidence of both, really.” (Must, Must Read. HL);

POST: "On death row for the wrong hair," by Kate Briquelet, published by the Daily Beast on April 25, 2015.

GIST: "Hair analysis helped to send Willie Jerome Manning to death row 21 years ago. The science proved to be wrong but not before hundreds of men had been convicted or even executed. For 21 years, death row inmate Willie Jerome Manning has waited for a DNA test to prove his innocence. In 1994, he was convicted in the murder of two white Mississippi State University students, who were kidnapped outside a frat house and later found shot in the head. Manning was a black man facing an all-white Southern jury, and the cards were already stacked against him. The prosecutor’s case relied on testimony from a jailhouse snitch and a woman who wanted to see her own criminal charges disappear—and an FBI expert who said a hair sample linked Manning to the crime. Manning was convicted and sentenced to death. But on May 7, 2013, he got an 11th-hour stay of his execution. The reprieve came days after the Department of Justice delivered letters calling the Federal Bureau of Investigation's microscopic hair comparison analysis flawed. “We have determined that the microscopic hair comparison analysis ... included statements that exceeded the limits of science and was, therefore, invalid,” read one DOJ letter to Oktibbeha County District Attorney Deforest Allgood. While there wasn't a positive match, the FBI expert “stated or implied ... that a questioned hair could be associated with a specific individual to the exclusion of all others.” Rob Mink, an attorney for Manning, told The Daily Beast that the FBI’s hair analysis was drilled into jurors during closing arguments. “The hair testimony was emphasized repeatedly by the prosecutor who tried the case,” said Mink, a trial attorney in Jackson, Mississippi. The DA echoed the FBI’s claim that the sample likely belonged to a black man. “We should all be very concerned and frightened that this sort of thing can happen,” Mink added. “A person can be convicted and sentenced to death, and science later shows the conviction is invalid and not reliable.”......... Manning’s case is only one among thousands from the 1980s and ’90s that used the FBI’s pseudoscientific analysis—which may have resulted in death sentences or decades-long imprisonment for innocent people."
The entire post can be found at:


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