Saturday, July 19, 2014

We're supposed to trust these people why, again?

The Inspector General of the Justice Department has just released a report detailing the FBI's foot-dragging response to crime lab issues first uncovered in 1996. This is the third report to follow up on the DOJ "task force" and its efforts to right the wrongs caused by "serious irregularities" in its lab. 
 The problems ultimately lead back to 13 examiners. But those problems were multitudinous. In total, these 13 took part in nearly 8,000 cases, 2,900 of which resulted in convictions. This discovery led to the appointment of a DOJ task force, which then led to... not much.
The new report said the Justice Department "failed to ensure that prosecutors made appropriate and timely disclosures to affected defendants" and that the department "failed to staff the Task Force with sufficient personnel to implement a case review of the magnitude it undertook." The work took far too long, investigators said.
How did this lack of activity on law enforcement's end add up for some of those affected?
[T]hree other defendants, Donald E. Gates, Santae A. Tribble, and Kirk L. Odom, had served sentences in excess of 21 years based in part on FBI hair analyses and testimony that DNA analysis subsequently proved erroneous.
So the EffingBI was more interested in protecting their reputation than the lives damaged and cases screwed, and the DoJ, instead of kicking ass, played the game.  Wonderful, isn't it?
There's a lot more bad news in the report, but nothing really tops the FBI contributing to the death of at least one innocent person. This isn't something that was uncovered after the execution. This information came to light in 1996, but no one involved made any attempt to prioritize affected convictions. Innocent people died or were locked away for years and yet, the DOJ portrays itself as the injured party.
"Decades ago, the FBI corrected the deficiencies that led to the creation of the Task Force," the department noted in its official response, adding that the Task Force's work was "unprecedented both in its magnitude and its complexity."

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