Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just in case you'd never heard of this "Oops!" from the FBI,

here's a piece on it at High Road.

Short version: FBI for years said their lab could analyze the bullet lead or fragments at a crime scene, compare them to bullets in a box owned by a suspect and declare "This bullet did/did not come from this box."

Until it was proven that this was bullcrap. Now a bunch of cases are under review, and probably a lot more should be.

You think about it, this should have been questioned from the beginning. Ammo companies get lead by the ton daily; being honest, all you could say was "This bullet came from the same batch of lead as was used in making this box of cartridges. Along with about a million others." But that doesn't impress people with your EffingBI Lab wizardry and put people in prison.


dick said...

Kelly's the scientist in this family (yep, she really is one), and she has zero faith in forensics.
Actually, she believes it's a load of crap for the most part.

Mrs. Widget said...

I have an article on that very thing for my science class to read. It is an example of "it makes sense, but we never tested it."

RobC said...

I have also become a forensic skeptic of late.

Firehand said...

Mrs. Widget, I think it may be more "We tested it, and it works in big lots, so we'll say it works in small comparisons, too! You know how many convictions we can help get?"

I guarantee there were people in both the Bureau and local agencies who called BS on this, and were told to shut up. Until someone brought up the uncomfortable facts in a trial and forced the Bureau to say "There may be a problem."

There was a PM article a while back on the problems with forensics being put forth as "THIS is the answer, and it's always right." Ah, it's here: