Categories:  'Criminal Justice & Incarceration Society'  

FBI Admits to Using Pseudoscience to Wrongfully Convict Felons

"In what The Guardian has called a “judicial catastrophe” of epic proportions, the FBI and Justice Department have admitted that in over 95 percent of trials revisited in [...]

“In what The Guardian has called a “judicial catastrophe” of epic proportions, the FBI and Justice Department have admitted that in over 95 percent of trials revisited in a historic review, agents gave flawed testimony based on the pseudoscience of hair analysis.

Spencer S. Hsu at The Washington Post broke the story late last week, reporting that the extent of the problem was unveiled during a review of thousands of cases in which forensic testimony led to a conviction. These included 268 trials that incorporated microscopic hair analysis, a pseudoscientific technique in which forensic experts use microscopes to “match” hairs found on crime scenes to defendants.

Hair analysis has been in use since the 1850s, reports Ed Pilkington at The Guardian, citing a study that traces the technique’s evolution “from magic to law.” The practice is based on erroneous claims that an individual’s hairs can be reliably matched to them. But the technique is based on visual analysis, not DNA, Pilkington explains, using the case of George Perrot, a man convicted of rape solely on hair analysis as an example.”

 

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Articles

Publication Date: 14/09/2016
Source: Equal Justice Initiative
Author:
Publication Date: 17/07/2015
Source: The New York Times
Author: Emily Bazelon
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Source: Smithsonian.com
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Publication Date: 4/22/15
Source: Smithsonian
Author: Erin Blakemore