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FBI admits flaws in its hair analysis

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  • FBI admits flaws in its hair analysis

    The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

    Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far
    The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. The question now, they said, is how state authorities and the courts will respond to findings that confirm long-suspected problems with subjective, pattern-based forensic techniques — like hair and bite-mark comparisons — that have contributed to wrongful convictions in more than one-quarter of 329 DNA-exoneration cases since 1989.
    The findings likely scratch the surface. The FBI said as of mid-April that reviews of about 350 trial testimonies and 900 lab reports are nearly complete, with about 1,200 cases remaining...Also, the same FBI examiners whose work is under review taught 500 to 1,000 state and local crime lab analysts to testify in the same ways.
    One big mess.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Paprika View Post
    Experts and their ability to witness reliably most certainly should not be taken for granted.

    One wonders how many people have been wrongly convicted thanks to unreliable expert witness brought on perhaps by a shared bias between the prosecutors and the expert that certain groups of people are most likely to be guilty, just because of who they are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by rwatts View Post
      Experts and their ability to witness reliably most certainly should not be taken for granted.

      One wonders how many people have been wrongly convicted thanks to unreliable expert witness brought on perhaps by a shared bias between the prosecutors and the expert that certain groups of people are most likely to be guilty, just because of who they are.
      Apparently there are also similar issues in fingerprinting with respect to unreliability of the experts' judgment.

      Time to overhaul everything, I believe.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
        Apparently there are also similar issues in fingerprinting with respect to unreliability of the experts' judgment.

        Time to overhaul everything, I believe.
        Ass well as matching bullets to guns
        "If you can ever make any major religion look absolutely ludicrous, chances are you haven't understood it"
        -Ravi Zacharias, The New Age: A foreign bird with a local walk

        Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
        1 Corinthians 16:13

        "...he [Doherty] is no historian and he is not even conversant with the historical discussions of the very matters he wants to pontificate on."
        -Ben Witherington III

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Raphael View Post
          Ass well
          heh

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Raphael View Post
            Ass well as matching bullets to guns
            Yeah. For years they have often said that the bullet fired was "consistent" with the firearm in question which jurors often misunderstood to be the same as saying that the bullet was shot from it. In fact it means little more than it may have been fired from it -- that it was shot from that type of firearm.

            I'm always still in trouble again

            "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
            "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Paprika View Post
              Apparently there are also similar issues in fingerprinting with respect to unreliability of the experts' judgment.

              Time to overhaul everything, I believe.
              Is fingerprint evidence faulty?

              I'm always still in trouble again

              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by rogue06 View Post


                I really doubt they'll overhaul fingerprinting though because the resultant legal chaos will be immense.

                Comment

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