Friday, May 8, 2015
The state often ignores evidence that could prove innocence. We know this. Nonetheless, each revelation is shocking. Recent revelations that the FBI acknowledged hiding evidence that likely would have led to innocent verdicts were the latest disturbing discoveries . According to a New York Times article, the FBI's forensic scientists confirmed that the testing "was scientifically indefensible in nearly every one of more than 250 cases reviewed."
These recent disclosures stem from suppressed DNA hair results. One defendant was executed on the FBI claim that hair found at the scene of a murder matched that of the defendant. In truth, the hair sample in question belonged to a dog. After this and other cases which exposed flawed FBI forensic testing, the FBI reached an agreement with the Justice Department (motivated by the work of The Innocence Project) to review the forensics in over 2500 cases.
The quality of justice is mediocre. Common goals should converge. If the government is not interested in whether the convicted are actually guilty, surely it is concerned with reducing crime in our communities. Wrongful convictions mean that the perpetrators are left free to commit additional crimes. Ensuring integrity of forensic evidence is one way to meet the needs of citizen protection and avoid wrongful convictions and executions.