The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison.

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Blumenthal said. 

– From the Washington Post article: FBI Overstated Forensic Hair Matches in Nearly All Trials efore 2000

The American justice system is broken. Completely and totally broken. This has been one of the key themes here at Liberty Blitzkrieg since inception, and I’ve come to realize that the death of the rule of law is the single most important issue facing our society at this time.

This site has focused on the increased use of selective prosecution in these United States. If you are poor, disenfranchised, or a dissident, the full force of the law will rain down on your skull like a thousand tons of bricks. We have seen this repeatedly in cases such as the South Carolina man who was fined $525 and fired from his job when he failed to pay for a $0.89 soda refill. We saw it in the case of Aaron Swartz, the child prodigy was driven to suicide by overly aggressive and ambitious feds. Finally, we saw it in the case of Barrett Brown, who was threatened with over a century in jail for essentially exposing the criminality of certain very rich and/or powerful individuals.

On the other side of the fence, we see that anyone associated with the power structure can do whatever they want with zero repercussions. We saw this in the case of General David Petraeus, whoreceived a slap on the wrist for passing on highly classified information to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell. We saw it in how DEA agents were’t even fired from their jobsdespite participating in sex parties filled with prostitutes that were paid for by drug cartels, and sometimes taxpayer funds. Most despicably, we have seen it in the explosive use of deferred prosecution agreements when it comes to all the bailed out Wall Street banks, thus ensuring that no senior bankers went to prison and that their bonuses would be forever protected.

The examples listed above are a mere fraction of the incidents I’ve highlighted here in recent years. Yet it’s even worse than just the unequal application of the law based on who you are or who you know. The U.S. prison system is filled with non-violent offenders and perpetrators of victimless crimes (if that’s not an oxymoron, I don’t know what is). After all, we’ve all heard the stat about how the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of it’s prisoners.

Yet it goes even beyond that. Police officers who are supposed to “protect and serve” are often more interested in confiscating citizens’ money and property without due process via the absurd concept of civil asset forfeiture. When they’re not doing this, they are often seen pounding on American citizens just for kicks. We recently learned that U.S. police killed more civilians in March of this year than the UK police have killed in the past hundred years.

But it’s goes even deeper. Prosecutors, the FBI and even judges are often more interested in putting people behind bars and advancing their careers than they are in the concept of truth and justice. When you take all of this together you have a breakdown in trust, decency and pretty soon society itself gets flushed down the toilet.

The latest revelations from the Washington Post about the FBI should leave you in no doubt about just how far gone this “justice” system is. Read it and weep:

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.

I’m not sure what makes them “elite.” Perhaps it’s their penchant for incompetence?

Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far,according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

The cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death. Of those, 14 have been executed or died in prison, the groups said under an agreement with the government to release results after the review of the first 200 convictions.

The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said. 

Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, commended the FBI and department for the collaboration but said, “The FBI’s three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.”

“We need an exhaustive investigation that looks at how the FBI, state governments that relied on examiners trained by the FBI and the courts allowed this to happen and why it wasn’t stopped much sooner,” Neufeld said.

“These findings are appalling and chilling in their indictment of our criminal justice system, not only for potentially innocent defendants who have been wrongly imprisoned and even executed, but for prosecutors who have relied on fabricated and false evidence despite their intentions to faithfully enforce the law,” Blumenthal said. 

The FBI is waiting to complete all reviews to assess causes but has acknowledged that hair examiners until 2012 lacked written standards defining scientifically appropriate and erroneous ways to explain results in court. The bureau expects this year to complete similar standards for testimony and lab reports for 19 forensic disciplines.

The review confirmed that FBI experts systematically testified to the near-certainty of “matches” of crime-scene hairs to defendants,backing their claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work.

In the District, the only jurisdiction where defenders and prosecutors have re-investigated all FBI hair convictions, three of seven defendants whose trials included flawed FBI testimony have been exonerated through DNA testing since 2009, and courts have exonerated two more men. All five served 20 to 30 years in prison for rape or murder.

Nothing like spending decades in jail for a crime you didn’t commit.

University of Virginia law professor Brandon L. Garrett said the results reveal a “mass disaster” inside the criminal justice system, one that it has been unable to self-correct because courts rely on outdated precedents admitting scientifically invalid testimony at trial and, under the legal doctrine of finality, make it difficult for convicts to challenge old evidence.

The findings likely scratch the surface. The FBI said as of mid-April that reviews of about 350 trial testimonies and 900 lab reports are nearly complete, with about 1,200 cases remaining.

The bureau said it is difficult to check cases before 1985, when files were computerized. It has been unable to review 700 cases because police or prosecutors did not respond to requests for information.

Also, the same FBI examiners whose work is under review taught 500 to 1,000 state and local crime lab analysts to testify in the same ways.

I think the following tweet sums it up:

This is not what freedom looks like.


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