FBI admits forensic lab errors in criminal cases

2015-04-19 21:08

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Washington - The FBI on Sunday admitted "errors" spanning several years in evidence provided in court by its forensic lab to help secure criminal convictions, including in death penalty cases.

The admission follows a report by the Inspector General's Office (OIG) last July probing "irregularities" by the Federal Bureau of Investigation lab.

The OIG's report found that that the flawed forensics were used in at least 60 capital punishment cases, including three in which the defendants were put to death.

In a statement acknowledging the flawed forensics, the FBI said it is "committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance".

The statement admitted "errors made in statements by FBI examiners regarding microscopic hair analysis in the context of testimony or laboratory reports. Such statements are no longer being made by the FBI," the statement said.

It added that the FBI "is also now employing mitochondrial-DNA hair analysis in addition to microscopic analysis".

The statement, co-signed by the Department of Justice, added that "the department and FBI have devoted considerable resources to this effort and will continue to do so until all of the cases are addressed".

The OIG's report last July criticised "the use of scientifically unsupportable analysis and overstated testimony by FBI Lab examiners in criminal prosecutions."

The Washington Post wrote Sunday that questionable FBI forensics were used in more than 95 percent of 268 trials reviewed, citing data compiled by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which seeks to free inmates imprisoned because of faulty evidence.

The daily wrote that flawed FBI forensic evidence was used at almost every trial at which it presented evidence over the course of more than 20 years.

Read more on:    fbi  |  us

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