The Innocence Project and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers said today that the FBI has agreed to to review more than 2,000 criminal cases in which the FBI conducted microscopic hair analysis of crime scene evidence. The agreement was reached after three men who served long prison terms were exonerated by DNA testing in cases in which FBI hair examiners provided testimony which exceeded the limits of science.
The two organizations said the U.S. Justice Department agreed for the first time not to raise procedural objections like statute of limitations and procedural default claims in the cases of defendants seeking to have their convictions overturned because of faulty FBI microscopic hair comparison laboratory reports and/or testimony. “The government's willingness to admit error and accept its duty to correct those errors in an extraordinarily large number of cases is truly unprecedented. It signals a new era in this country that values science and recognizes that truth and justice should triumph over procedural obstacles,” said Peter Neufeld, Co-Director of the Innocence Project, which is affiliated with Cardozo School of Law.