News 11.19.07

Task force planned to address cases affected by faulty FBI tests

A joint investigation published yesterday by the Washington Post and CBS News’ “60 Minutes” has revealed that FBI lab analysts have been giving misleading forensic testimony in courtrooms for 40 years. The evidence in question is bullet lead analysis, a procedure first used after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and employed in thousands of criminal convictions since then. The investigation turned up hundreds of convictions in need of review for possible evidence of wrongful convictions, and the Innocence Network announced today that it had formed a joint task force with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to assist the FBI in reviewing closed cases and serve as a resource for defense counsel and for defendants who may have been wrongfully convicted based on erroneous or misleading FBI testimony.

“The FBI’s plan to deal with this serious and deeply troubling problem is good but long overdue,” said Barry Scheck, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law. “This should have happened in 2004, when the scientific community made it clear that bullet lead analysis is not reliable. A serious review of old cases is critical because innocent people … may well have been convicted based on discredited, unreliable FBI analysis.”


Read more here

. (11/19/07, The Innocence Network)

The joint investigation by the Washington Post and “60 Minutes” was published yesterday and today and includes examples of specific convictions in which the FBI’s bullet lead analysis was the only physical evidence of guilt. Learn more in the interactive online features from both news organizations.

Special Report from The Washington Post:

Silent Injustice

CBS News "60 Minutes":

Evidence of Injustice

Washington Post Reporter John Solomon is taking questions from readers today from noon to 1 p.m. EST.

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