It’s dismaying to see law enforcement in this country exposed as a gang of thugs abusing the rights of citizens — we have a militarized police force that basically executes people they don’t like. Now we learn that even if they survive arrest, suspects will get railroaded straight into a conviction by biased crime labs. The latest culprit: the FBI has been jiggering hair analysis results for decades.
The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that 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.
Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.
Yesterday, I addressed a pompous twit who declared that SJWs were undermining the idea that everyone was presumed innocent until proven guilty — perhaps he needs to spend a little more time contemplating the FBI, because they’re clearly in the business of inventing evidence to ‘prove’ guilt.
And this stuff has consequences.
The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.
Scientists may have contributed to the problem by inaction, too. Over the last decade or so, we’ve seen forensic science turned into cheesy entertainment with the rise of these CSI-style shows, where science is turned into a magic instrument that infallibly determines guilt or innocence. I’ve watched these things and laughed: they routinely make difficult analyses look easy and fast, and turn ambiguous evidence into certainty. They’ve propagated a myth that the science always works and always has the right answer, and they’ve played right into the hands of crooked cops and lawyers who want to dazzle juries and judges with incomprehensible technical detail that can be spun into the verdict they want.
Those shows are complete garbage, and we ought to be saying so more often.