Saturday, May 9, 2015

FBI overstated hair match crisis: (20): (The Emperor's Clothes); The Star-Ledger asks how many innocent people did New Jersey send to prison with junk science?

EDITORIAL: "How many innocent people did NJ send to prison with junk science?,"  published by the Star-Ledger on April 27, 2015.

PHOTO CAPTION: "Gerard Richardson was sent to New Jersey prison to serve 30 years for a murder he did not commit, largely based on bogus bite mark evidence. It took him 19 years to prove his innocence." 

GIST: "Now, it's basically left up to the discretion of individual states to right these wrongs. Texas, New York and North Carolina are reviewing their hair examiner cases, and New Jersey's Attorney General's Office this week pledged to put its own audit in motion. But it hasn't yet said what cases it will review. The audit should include all convictions based on pattern and impression forensic practices that we now know are not scientifically valid -- including bite mark evidence. The 2013 exoneration of Gerard Richardson is the perfect example why. After he spent nearly two decades in a prison for a murder he didn't commit based on false evidence that a bite-mark left on a victim matched his teeth, a judge finally threw out Richardson's conviction when the mark was tested and found to contain another man's DNA. Yet even then, the trial prosecutor in Somerset County dragged his feet on dropping the charges, still insisting the bite mark was Richardson's. Then there's Larry Peterson in Burlington County, who was convicted of murder and rape in large part based on flawed hair analysis. A forensic scientist with the New Jersey State Police said the hairs found at the scene and on the victim's body had the same characteristics as Peterson's, but later DNA testing found they actually belonged to the victim, and turned up the DNA of another, unidentified man at the crime scene. Peterson was the first homicide conviction in New Jersey to be overturned on the basis of DNA evidence. How many more people suffered the same fate? We will never know unless a thorough review is done. We owe it not just to the innocent people in prison, but to the public not to let the real perpetrators go free."

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:
I look forward to hearing from readers at:
Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;