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Justice Department to Perform Expansive Review of FBI Lab’s Forensic Testimony

U.S. Attorney Sally Yates

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is performing an expansive review of forensic testimony by the FBI Laboratory to determine whether evidence was overstated to secure convictions, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced.

Beginning in March, the Justice Department will determine how it will audit samples of testimony from FBI units that handle pattern-based evidence, which includes crime-scene evidence such as bullet impressions, fiber, soil and shoe treads, the Washington Post reports. 

It won’t be an easy task. More than 100,000 examinations of such crime-scene evidence is conducted annually by the FBI and other crime labs.

“We are undertaking this quality-assurance review because we think it is good operating procedure — and not because of specific concerns with other disciplines,” Yates said Wednesday in an address to the American Academy of Forensic Scientists’ annual meeting in Las Vegas.

The move comes after serious flaws were found in the collection of so-called hair matches.

The FBI declined to comment.

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