FBI admits to flawed forensics analyses for cases

World Today

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has admitted that at least 90 percent of its microscopic analysis of hair samples in criminal cases was flawed. The cases date prior to the year 2000 when the FBI began using DNA techniques instead. CCTV’s Daniel Ryntjes filed this report from Washington.

FBI admits to flawed forensics analyses for cases

FBI admits to flawed forensics analyses for cases

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has admitted that at least 90 percent of its microscopic analysis of hair samples in criminal cases was flawed. The cases date prior to the year 2000 when the FBI began using DNA techniques instead.CCTV's Daniel Ryntjes filed this report from Washington.

Follow Daniel Ryntjes on Twitter @danielryntjes

Highlights:

  • Of the thousands of cases that were flawed, thirty-five were death penalty cases. Nine of these defendants were executed and five died while on death row.
  • Forensic scientist Dr. Frederic Whitehurst joined the FBI crime lab in the 1980s and said he tried to get the agency to change its methods. By the mid 1990s he made those concerns public and then left the agency, where he began fighting for case files to be made public in order to inform those who may have been falsely imprisoned.
  • The FBI said there will now be an independent investigation of FBI laboratory protocols, practices and procedures to determine “how this occurred and why it was allowed to continue for so long.”
  • The agency also said it is continuing to review cases and inform defendants of errors while encouraging states to review thousands of cases where hundreds of examiners were trained by the FBI in the same flawed techniques.