Hair Analysis Underway in Texas


Nearly six months after the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) announced its partnership with the FBI and the Department of Justice to review microscopic hair analysis cases, the Texas Forensic Science Commission (TFSC) voted unanimously Friday morning to review state criminal convictions that included testimony on microscopic hair analysis. The Austin Chronicle reported that Texas’ planned review will be the first to state in the nation to conduct a review of cases involving this type of evidence.


In July,

the FBI and DOJ agreed to review of more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence

. Since many of Texas’ hair examiners were trained by the FBI, the state review makes sense, according to the Innocence Project of Texas. The state’s review will focus on older cases, since microscopic hair analysis was more common thirty years ago, before the rise of DNA testing.


Four of Texas’ twenty labs that conduct hair analysis have already submitted lists of cases where a “positive association” was made between a defendant and crime scene evidence. According to TFSC general counsel Lynn Robitaille, a database review of appeal court decisions that mention hair analysis yielded a list of some 85 cases.


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