Monday, August 18, 2014

Kevin Martin: D.C. (Flawed FBI hair evidence); He pleaded guilty to a murder he did not commit (and was imprisoned for 26 yesrs) after being presented by the FBI with forensic evidence purportedly linking his hair to the crime scene. Washington Post says his case points the need to reform the discovery process. (Must Read. HL);

EDITORIAL: "The Kevin Martin case points to the need to reform the discovery process," published by the  Washington Post on July 21, 2014.
PHOTO-CAPTION:  "Kevin Martin becomes emotional while talking to reporters after leaving DC Superior courthouse after being exonerated for a crime he didn't commit."
GIST:  "Mr. Martin, then 19, had admitted his guilt in a series of armed robberies similar to the events in Ms. Brown’s case but said he knew nothing about her death and was not involved. Only when presented with forensic evidence purportedly linking his hair to the crime scene did he agree to the plea that saw him imprisoned for 26 years. He was paroled in 2009; if not for the manslaughter conviction in Ms. Brown’s death, he would have been freed roughly 12 years earlier. Mr. Martin, as The Post’s Spencer S. Hsu has catalogued in a series of articles, is the fifth man that federal prosecutors in the District acknowledged was wrongly convicted due to faulty FBI forensics that relied on the supposed legitimacy of hair-sample analysis. The four others — Kirk Odom, Donald Gates, Santae Tribble and Cleveland Wright — collectively spent more than 100 years in prison. They represent only the local cases; it’s estimated that thousands of cases involved flawed FBI forensics work, which was first detected in the early 1990s. Just as troubling as the bad lab work has been the response by authorities. Days before Mr. Martin’s day in court, the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General issued a report faulting the department and the FBI for delays in reviewing affected cases and notifying defendants or their attorneys. In some cases, the reviews came too late, with defendants put to death before their cases could be examined to determine whether their convictions should be overturned. Only now, decades after a whistleblower reported the forensic problems, are the names of defendants whose convictions involved FBI hair analysis being ­released. Prosecutors in Mr. Martin’s case eventually did the right thing, and it’s to their credit that new evidence was developed that cleared him. But a system that essentially gives carte blanche to authorities to reexamine their own mistakes on their own timetable is fundamentally flawed. It’s yet another reason to reform the discovery process for evidence."
The entire editorial can be found at:


Dear Reader. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog. We are following this case.
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:
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