An online article at Slate discussed a recent article in the Washington Post revealing that 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.
The massive review raises questions about the veracity of not just expert hair testimony, but also the bite-mark and other forensic testimony offered as objective, scientific evidence to jurors who, not unreasonably, believed that scientists in white coats knew what they were talking about. As Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the Innocence Project, put it, “The FBI's three-decade use of microscopic hair analysis to incriminate defendants was a complete disaster.”
In these cases " forensic examiners evidently made statements beyond the bounds of proper science. There were no scientifically accepted standards for forensic testing, yet FBI experts routinely and almost unvaryingly testified, according to the Post, “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.”
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project, are helping the government with the country's largest ever post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.