Monday, August 17, 2015

Bulletin: Gamso; Blogger extraordinaire Jeff Gamso, in his usual blunt, take no prisoners, hard-hitting prose, gives some good reasons to watch "Al Jazeera America's" show "Under the Microscope: The FBI Hair Cases," this evening. (Monday 17 August); (My favourate Gamso reason: "Because hair comparison, even when done right and testified to accurately, is bullshit." Pretty clear, wouldn't you say? HL);

"I've written before about the FBI's "stunning" admission that hair comparison, the very hair comparison its forensic guys testified to thousands of times, is bullshit.  And while they claim they're getting the word out to the boatloads of folks who were convicted based on that testimony, well, we'll see how that goes. While we wait, turn to Al Jazeera America Monday night for Fault Lines.*  Monday's show is "Under the Microscope: The FBI Hair Cases," and it tells that story. More, it tells of Joseph Sledge who spent 37 years in prison for a pair of rape murders he didn't commit.  It was an horrific crime scene.  Blood everywhere.  Everywhere except on Joe Sledge.  There were palmprints in the blood.  They weren't Joe's.  But there were also a handful of hairs.  Those, the FBI's crack hair analysts said, those were just like Joe's.  There are 16 points of comparison.  They matched up at all 16. It tells the story of Kirk Odom, arrested at 18 for a rape he didn't commit.  But the hair, the hair.  And Santae Tribble.  He was 17 when the cops got him for murder.  There were 13 hairs.  It was a murder case.  The FBI had two of their forensic scientists look at them.  Match his hair, they both said.   You know what happened next.  DNA testing on the hair.  On the hairs that convicted Joe and Kirk and Santae.  On the hairs that weren't theirs.  In Santae's case, one of the hairs that sent him down for murder, one of the 13 hairs hairs that the crack guys from the FBI told the jury was just like his, so, you know, . . . . That hair came from a dog. A fucking dog.  Who he says probably committed the crime.........Because hair comparison, even when done right and testified to accurately, is bullshit.  The comparison microscope is a lovely thing.  But the FBI forensic folks who use it, they aren't scientists. And what they're doing isn't science.  If you read this blog, you know all that.  You should watch the show anyhow.  It brings home the human dimension and slams home the real science.  And how else will you learn Joe Sledge's answer to the question: What can they do make this right for you?