Monday, May 18, 2015

FBI overstated hair match crisis (22): (The Emperor's clothes); Executive Director of National Association of Criminal Defence Lawyers stresses the need for all effected by the FBI's flawed forensics to be notified - and the need for each defendant to have the representation he or she needs to evaluate the impact of the flawed evidence and pursue appropriate avenues of relief.

POST: "Flawed Forensics: The story behind an historic FBI review," by Norman L.  Reimer, published by the Crime Report on April 30,  2015. (Norman L. Reimer is Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.)

GIST: In July 2013, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project (IP) signed an historic agreement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review thousands of criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence. Two major developments created the impetus for this groundbreaking review. First, in a 2009 report on forensic science, the National Academy of Sciences specifically identified microscopic hair-comparison evidence as problematic. The second and more directly triggering event was the exoneration of three men between 2009 and 2012 who had served lengthy prison sentences, and whose convictions were tainted by microscopic hair comparison evidence that exceeded the limits of science.  DNA testing contradicted the conclusions of three different FBI hair examiners who had provided the flawed testimony in those cases.........The joint statement announcing the interim results declared “that the FBI has concluded that the examiners' testimony in at least 90 percent of trial transcripts the Bureau analyzed as part of its Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis Review contained erroneous statements.” The statement went on to say that 26 of 28 FBI agent/analysts “provided either testimony with erroneous statements or submitted laboratory reports with erroneous statements.”.........No date has been set for completion of the final report. Meanwhile, the April 20 statement contained an important commitment by the DOJ and the FBI to work with NACDL and the Innocence Project to: Conduct an independent investigation of the FBI Laboratory protocols, practices and procedures to determine how this occurred and why it was allowed to continue for so long; Continue aggressive measures and review the process to determine whether additional steps could be taken to secure the transcripts and/or lab reports, and review the hundreds of remaining cases that may contain invalid scientific statements; and Strongly encourage the states again to conduct their own independent reviews where its examiners were trained by the FBI. It is not enough that the problems we identified be prevented from happening again. While NACDL and the Innocence Project are working tirelessly toward that end, it is critical that all of those affected be notified and that each defendant has the representation he or she needs to evaluate the impact of the flawed evidence and pursue appropriate avenues of relief. NACDL is committed to making sure that happens.

The entire post can be found at: