Justice Department officials have known for years that flawed forensic work might have led to the convictions of potentially innocent people, but prosecutors failed to notify defendants or their attorneys even in many cases they knew were troubled.
Officials started reviewing the cases in the 1990s after reports that sloppy work by examiners at the FBI lab was producing unreliable forensic evidence in court trials. Instead of releasing those findings, they made them available only to the prosecutors in the affected cases, according to documents and interviews with dozens of officials.
Well, of course! If they let the defendants know, they might actually do something about it! And that might damage the reputations of the prosecutors!
In one Texas case, Benjamin Herbert Boyle was executed in 1997, more
than a year after the Justice Department began its review. Boyle would
not have been eligible for the death penalty without the FBI’s flawed
work, according to a prosecutor’s memo.
The case of a
Maryland man serving a life sentence for a 1981 double killing is
another in which federal and local law enforcement officials knew of
forensic problems but never told the defendant. Attorneys for the man,
John Norman Huffington, say they learned of potentially exculpatory
Justice Department findings from The Washington Post. They are seeking a
A: Do not trust a fed. Of any stripe.
B: Do not expect a damn thing to be done about crooked/corrupt feds; all these bastards still have jobs and still have their law licenses.
C: NEVER trust ANYTHING that comes from the EffingBI.
'Disgusting' just barely begins to cover it.
"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," the newspaper reported, adding that "the
cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death."
The article notes that the admissions from the FBI and Department of Justice "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."
Never trust ANYTHING that comes out of a crime lab. If you're being charged with something, demand a neutral lab retest everything. From the Insty link where I found these,
When I was in college, I interned for a criminal defense attorney who
told me that although most people, including defense lawyers, assumed
that the FBI lab was a gold standard, he always sent stuff to an
independent lab for verification, and half the time it came back with a
different result from the FBI lab. He said he didn’t understand why
more lawyers didn’t do that, since a different result in itself might
produce reasonable doubt.