Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bulletin: D of J/FBI: Reax to review of forensic- related cases: (1): "it's something, but I'm not as excited as they'd like me to be." Joe Gamso.

POST: "It's something, but I'm not as excited as they'd like me to be," by Joe Gamso, published on "Gamso - For the Defence," on July 11, 2012. (Joe Blogger is a superb criminal justice blogger with a knack for calling it the way it is. He writes from the trenches with passion and an astute observer's eye. HL);

GIST: "There are four really important things to say about this besides, "Good idea." First, it's about damned time. See, there's nothing new here. The FBI has known for years, for a couple of decades, in fact, that at least some of their hair and fiber analysis is conducted incompetently and reported dishonestly. And they haven't much cared. People convicted who, even if guilty, otherwise wouldn't have been? People convicted who are factually innocent? They knew. They just didn't know exactly who. And they didn't care to find out. Nor did they bother to get word out that some enterprising defense counsel might want to investigate. Second, it's not just the FBI lab guys. The folks who examine hair and fiber at the state labs? At other federal labs? Guess who showed them how to do it. The FBI can review away, but there are tens of thousands of cases they won't be able to review because they weren't done by them. But they were done by folks they taught badly. Third, this is junk science under the best of circumstances. You want to match hair? Do DNA testing. For all its flaws, DNA is actually science. This hair looks like that one? It's bullshit. I'm not saying the results are always wrong. I'm saying they're wholly unreliable. If there's a determinable error rate, and I suppose there might be, nobody knows what it is. 5%? 95%? Your guess is as good as theirs. Fiber matching is even worse. Fourth, hair and fiber are a start, but the truth is that much of what passes for forensics is worthless. The National Research Council report in 2009 made this abundantly clear to anyone who paid attention and cared. There's no talk about reviewing all the bullshit forensic fantasy they've unleased."

The entire post can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

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