CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Botched FBI Fingerprint Analysis Incorrectly Tied Portland Attorney to Madrid Train Bombing

Brandon Mayfield, a Portland attorney, was arrested in May for detonating the train bomb in Madrid last March that killed 191 people. His arrest was based on an alleged "match" of his fingerprint to a fingerprint on a bag of detonators used in the attack.  Now, after Mayfield has been cleared and more than 30 North Africans have been charged with participating in the attack as part of a holy war against the West, a panel of forensic experts has concluded that the FBI fingerprint team erred in connecting Mayfield to the case.  The panel concluded that there were insufficient points of similarity between Mayfield's fingerprint and the fingerprint found at the scene to reach a firm conclusion, but that the FBI connected him anyway because of the "inherent pressure of working an extremely high-profile case."

For more on this story, click here.

Mark Godsey

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