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Federal Review: FBI Lab Rife with Forensic Flaws in 1980s, 1990s

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have found serious problems at the bureau’s lab that raise serious questions about the guilt or innocence of several thousand people who have been convicted, the Washington Post reports.

The investigation began after the Washington Post exposed flawed evidence two years involving microscopic hair matches.

“I don’t know whether history is repeating itself, but clearly the [latest] report doesn’t give anyone a sense of confidence that the work of the examiners whose conduct was first publicly questioned in 1997 was reviewed as diligently and promptly as it needed to be,” said Michael R. Bromwich, who was inspector general from 1994 to 1999 and is now a partner at the Goodwin Procter law firm.

The review of the cases was halted last year, the FBI said, because of a “vigorous debate that occurred within the FBI and DOJ about the appropriate scientific standards we should apply when reviewing FBI lab examiner testimony — many years after the fact.”

The investigations resumed this month.

“Working closely with DOJ, we have resolved those issues and are moving forward with the transcript review for the remaining cases,” the FBI said.


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