Report: A Lot of Evidence in Criminal Cases Is Faulty
Using information provided by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project, the Washington Post recently published a report implicating the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Justice Department (DOJ) of being complicit in offering years of inaccurate, flawed and misleading testimony regarding the forensic testing results in capital offense cases. Among the revelations was that forensic hair examiners have given flawed testimony in more than 250 cases for a period of nearly 30 years, beginning in the 1970s and spanning into the 1990s. Testimony regarding the accuracy of hair matching tests was embellished to favor the prosecution and resulted in multiple convictions, including those of 32 defendants who were subsequently sentenced to death.
Unsubstantiated Forensic Results
Nearly 95% of the FBI Laboratory’s Microscopic Hair Comparison Unit was determined to have testified to results that were, in fact, overstated and inaccurate as to their reliability. The two government departments are currently working in conjunction with the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to review cases where there is reason to question the reliability of forensic evidence. In response to these findings, defendants and attorneys around the country are currently being notified to determine if their case may have new grounds to file for a criminal appeal.
Hair Matching Tests Are Inclusive and Often Inaccurate
The FBI’s internal investigation began in 2012 as the result of a newspaper article in the Post calling attention to flawed forensic matches in violent crimes cases; suggesting that many defendants may have been wrongfully convicted for crimes they did not commit. The FBI and DOJ agreed to report their findings after reviewing the first 200 cases. The results of the review confirmed that 26 of the 28 forensic examiners who gave testimony during trial claimed with “near-certainty” that the hair samples found at crime scenes matched those of the particular defendants, although the actual results of their tests were inconclusive.
Strong Criminal Defense Includes Disproving Lab Results and Expert Testimony
Of the cases examined so far, 32 defendants had received death sentences and of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison. Unfortunately, the scenario of the government offering inaccurate, inflated or just simply flawed forensic evidence as accurate is all too common and can have devastating consequences. Lab results are meaningless without supporting data; however, the validity of the data and how that data was obtained are usually elements that must be challenged in tandem with the issue of data accuracy. A savvy criminal defense lawyer knows that one of the most important lines of defense is successfully challenging and disproving the purported accuracy of any criminal lab testing results and the testimony of government witnesses such as lab technicians.
Cherry Hill Criminal Lawyer, Jill R. Cohen, is Experienced in Defending Against Crime Lab Results and Technician Testimony
If you or a family member has been charged with a criminal offense in New Jersey, Jill R. Cohen is a Cherry Hill criminal lawyer who provides aggressive defense. As a former assistant prosecutor, Attorney Cohen uses her trial experience and knowledge of the government’s tactics to help defend clients every day in the state of New Jersey.
Criminal charges are serious and you should not delay in retaining legal counsel. Call Cherry Hill criminal lawyer, Jill R. Cohen, or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation. Our office is conveniently located in Westmont, New Jersey and we are proud to serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden City, Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, Mercer County, Cumberland County, Salem County, and Atlantic County.