FBI Errors Cause Courts to Take a Second Look at Convictions
You don’t have to look far to get concrete evidence that the FBI is far from perfect. In fact, the agency flat-out admits it. In a 2015 press release, the nation’s top criminal investigation agency stated that “at least 90 percent of the trial transcripts analyzed in its Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis Review contained erroneous statements.”
The press release goes on to state that “these findings confirm that FBI microscopic hair analysts committed widespread, systematic error, grossly exaggerating the significance of their data under oath with the consequence of unfairly bolstering the prosecutions’ case.”
The admitted errors have caused many courts across the country to reexamine convictions based on analyses of hair samples. If you have been convicted of a crime in federal court and wish to appeal your case, it’s important to act quickly. Contact a Texas federal criminal appeal lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your case.
Arkansas Supreme Court Orders Review of Two Cases
Recently, the Arkansas Supreme Court joined several other courts in referring criminal convictions back to lower courts for further analysis. The state’s high court sent two cases back to lower courts after receiving notice that the cases involved evidence containing potentially flawed hair analysis.
If the cases contain errors, the court could order the cases reopened. The cases are just two out of over 250 criminal cases across the country identified as containing possible errors based on FBI mistakes.
In one of the Arkansas cases, the defendant was convicted of sexual assault in 1990 based on FBI testimony regarding a hair sample. In the other case, the defendant was convicted of kidnapping and murder in 1979.
In September 2016, the Justice Department said it has adopted a new code of professional responsibility for all of its forensic science laboratories and will no longer use the phrase “reasonable scientific certainty” in court testimony or official reports.
Million-Dollar Settlements for the Wrongfully Convicted
However, the change comes too late for numerous innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted based on the flawed hair analysis. In 2016, Santae Tribble received $13.2 million for the wrongful conviction that caused him to serve 27 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. His conviction, which was based almost entirely on flawed hair analysis, was overturned after DNA testing revealed that none of the hair used in his case belonged to him. In fact, one of the hairs was later identified as dog hair. Tribble, who is now 55, has been told he has just a few years to live due to the HIV and hepatitis he contracted in prison.
Discuss Your Case with a Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer
The hair analysis mistakes made by FBI crime labs continue to send shock waves through the criminal justice system. If you have been charged with a crime, it’s important to work with aggressive federal criminal defense lawyers. The lawyers at Broden & Mickelsen, LLP are Board Certified in Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Get your free case evaluation from a Texas federal criminal defense lawyer today by calling 214-720-9552.
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SOURCE: Broden & Mickelsen, LLP