Scientists (in 04): FBI’s forensic test faulty

November 18, 2007

Someone somewhere is doing their job. Someone somewhere isn’t. WaPo and 60 minutes did a little investigative journalism to find out that FBI’s technique of matching bullets in crime-scenes with those found in the suspect’s possession is faulty.

Specifically, the National Academy of Sciences said that decades of FBI statements to jurors linking a particular bullet to those found in a suspect’s gun or cartridge box were so overstated that such testimony should be considered “misleading under federal rules of evidence.”(WaPo)

And this fact was actually stated by scientists back in 2004. Meaning high ranking official must’ve deliberately discarded experts analysis, sending potentially innocent individuals to prison.

In at least two cases, the bureau has tried to help state prosecutors defend past convictions by using court filings that experts say are still misleading. The government has fought releasing the list of the estimated 2,500 cases over three decades in which it performed the analysis.

Folks like my man (pictured) Lee Wayne Hunt, are now challenging the court rulings against them. Hunt was convicted of a double murder 22 years ago based on this baseless technique. He has a 2 to 4 year window to appeal.

But you know, had anyone asked me if this way of determining the guilty criminal was a sure thing or not, I would’ve given you the same answer that we recently learned from the credible experts. I would’ve actually told you so back in 1963.

The science, known as comparative bullet-lead analysis, was first used after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.

I wrote my English paper in college about the JFK assassination. It is arguably the most disputed case in recent history. It’s backed by hundreds of conspiracy theories. Remember the magic bullet theory as one? And this is what we base the outcome for 2,500 lives on.

I urge you to read the complete article available here. It gets worse by the paragraph.

Documents show that the FBI’s concerns about the science dated to 1991 and came to light only because a former FBI lab scientist began challenging it.

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