Truth Sentinel with Scott episode 61 Forensics revelations

Truth Sentinel with Scott episode 61 Forensics revelations.

FBI admits flaws in hair analysis over decades. We discuss the implications of this and talk to Sarah Chu from The Innocence project who are working to acquit wrongly convicted people.

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, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, commended the FBI and department for the collaboration but said, “The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.”

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Richard Blumenthal

‘ of the hairs presented at trial came from a dog.’

Brandon L. Garrett; “When I looked at forensics in DNA exoneree trials, I found more often than not that the testimony was unscientific and flawed.’

Washington Post revealed that in 268 trials dating back to 1972, 26 out of 28 examiners within the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit “overstated forensic matches in a way that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent” of the cases. These included cases where 14 people have since been either executed or died in prison.

Bite-mark analysis is based on two falsehoods and has wrongfully convicted at least 24 people.

“No two prints are alike,” experts will say, but there’s no actual proof that is true.

We all have a role to play in scrutinizing the forensic evidence used in the criminal justice system. The prosecutors who decide whether to offer such evidence; the defense attorneys who point out its weaknesses; the judges who determine whether to allow jurors to hear it; the jurors who evaluate its legitimacy and weight; and the citizens who oversee the workings of our system—all of us need to treat these analysts with healthy skepticism when they urge us to rely on their conclusions.

The Innocence Project is a non-profit legal organization that is committed to exonerating wrongly convicted people through the use of DNA testing and to reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

The Innocence Project, founded in 1992 by Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck at Cardozo School of Law, exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and reforms the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice.

‘Help us free those who have been wrongfully convicted, and reform our criminal justice system’

Sarah Chu joined the Innocence Project’s Policy department in September 2008. As the Forensic Policy Advocate, she supports policy work that focuses on improving the validity and reliability of forensic science.

Prior to joining the Innocence Project, Sarah worked in executive search and as a middle school science teacher in the NYC public schools. She also represents her community on her local community board and education council. During her academic career, Sarah published work in two scientific disciplines: plant molecular biology and musculoskeletal epidemiology.

Sarah holds a BS in Biochemistry & Cell Biology, BA in Communication, and a MS in Biology from the University of California, San Diego and a MS in Epidemiology from Stanford University.


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