The FBI and Justice Department have recently admitted that forensic examiners from their DNA unit gave flawed evidence at almost ALL United States criminal trials over the past 20 years.
According to the report, 26 employees in the agency’s microscopic hair comparison lab gave incorrect results, which favored the prosecutors between the 1980’s and 1990’s. Research from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project estimates that around 95% of the 268 trials that have been reviewed have been impacted.
What Does This Mean?
According to The Washington Post, of the 200 convictions affected, 39 people were sentenced to death, and of those 39, 14 were executed or died behind bars. This does not mean that the FBI did not have other incriminating evidence against these so-called criminals, but that the use of forensics alone is certainly not enough to sentence any one of these convicts to prison. It most definitely does not provide enough justification to sentence them to die.
Co-founder of The Innocence Project, Peter Neufeld, told the Post: “The FBI’s three decade use of microscopic hair analyses to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster. We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner.”
What Did The FBI Have To Say About This?
In a statement the FBI said they were completely committed to notifying defendants of past discrepancies and they aim to “make sure justice is done in every instance.” They said, “We are committed to ensuring the accuracy of future hair analysis, as well as the application of all disciplines of forensic science.”
Unfortunately, a report from the department’s inspector general found that the FBI and Justice Department did not move as quickly as they should have to identify the cases that were mishandled by the 13 FBI crime lab examiners, meaning that some defendants were never notified that their convictions had been based on bad science.
It has taken almost 5 years for the FBI to identify over 60 death-row defendants whose cases are now requiring further examination; during that time at least 3 have been executed.
To me this whole ordeal is completely insane. How could so many people have been on board with essentially lying about the DNA samples? Were they paid off, or was it the pride of being able to say that they “solved” the case? This shows that sometimes we put too much trust in those who we believe are there to protect us and serve justice. What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments below!
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