Monday, November 19, 2007

Silent Injustice

The Washington Post and 60 Minutes have joined forces to examine an issue that includes junk science, denial, and a gross violation of professional and ethical codes of conduct.

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The highlights - the FBI has been claiming that a test used for over 40 years can tie the lead in a bullet from a crime scene to other bullets manufactured at the same time. In essence, tie the crime science bullet to any others found in the possession of the accused and you have your killer. The problem - the FBI agents have been using a flawed test and have falsely testified about it accuracy.

Now the really shocking news - a lab analyst lied under oath about his college degrees, the FBI has refused to disclose the exact cases in which bullet lead analysis was used (until after this story broke), and it failed to notify judges, prosecutors, and defendants that it was discontinuing the flawed test after a 2004 study by the National Academy of Sciences.

The impact is that an untold number of individuals may have been wrongfully convicted. This Web site indicates that Idaho has two cases involving the junk science. Some individuals may still be incarcerated including some death-row inmates. Examples of cover ups, incompetence, and abuse of power only serve to further erode confidence in the criminal justice system.

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