Our Tarrant County criminal defense attorney is alarmed at how many of the so-called miracle forensic methods used to convict people in recent years have been shown to be little more than “junk science.” A case in point is hair analysis evidence.
In 2015, The Washington Post reported how the Justice Department and FBI formally acknowledged almost all of its expert examiners provided “flawed testimony” in trials.
The flawed testimony was given in almost every trial the experts appeared in over the 20 years before 2000.
The Post reported of 28 examiners employed by the FBI in the microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches to the benefit of prosecutors in more than 95 percent of 268 trials. These were the hearings that had been reviewed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project.
The findings are alarming because they indicate flawed hair analysis evidence may have tainted many trials and led to wrongful convictions.
A massive post-conviction review of forensic evidence is leading to worrying conclusions. An article in The Slate pointed out the review is looking at the cases of 32 defendants who have already been sentenced to death. Of these, 14 have already been executed or died in jail.
There may have been other incriminating evidence in some of these cases but hair sample analysis was a factor.
The FBI is considering about 2,500 cases in which its labs reported a hair match.
There is no shortage of high-profile miscarriages of justice. For instance, George Perrot spent 30 years in prison due to evidence from a single hair.
There was no other evidence against Perrot, but during an important stage in the 1992 rape and burglary trial, an FBI agent who claimed to be leading expert in hair and textile fibers, swayed the trial.
The evidence was incorrect. More than three years ago, the FBI admitted that the basis of hair comparison evidence was scientifically invalid. A preliminary review of the flaws in the follicular technique found that:
We are dismayed that techniques like hair analysis evidence and bite mark evidence formed a basis for so many prosecutions but we later found to be flawed science. If you have been charged with a serious crime in Fort Worth, Dallas or elsewhere, it’s imperative to hire a seasoned criminal defense lawyer.
Call Gary Medlin of the Medlin Law Firm today for a free consultation about your case.