Nonprofit Group Reports That Flawed FBI Hair Analysis Was Used to Convict Defendants

September 24, 2015 | News

St. Peters, MO, (Law Firm Newswire) September 24, 2015 – Faulty testimony contributed to at least 35 guilty verdicts, with nine executions resulting.

The Innocence Project, a nonprofit organization based in New York, announced on April 21 that the FBI erroneously testified about hair samples in six criminal cases in Missouri, including one that resulted in the execution of the defendant. And now the executed man has been identified as Jeffrey Ferguson, who was convicted in St. Louis County last year for the 1989 murder of Kelli Hall.

In a joint statement that was released the previous weekend, the FBI, Justice Department, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project declared that in an overwhelming number of cases — 96 percent of 268 trials — the FBI hair examiners’ testimony used against the defendant was flawed. Furthermore, the review found that 26 of 28 hair examiners overstated the scientific certainty of their hair matches when they either wrote lab reports or testified.

In addition to Jeffrey Ferguson, eight other prisoners convicted in trials in which faulty hair testimony was admitted have been executed and another five prisoners died while awaiting execution. Overall, at least 35 defendants who were convicted in trials with erroneous hair testimony received the death penalty.

“People finding themselves charged with a crime are already at a serious disadvantage against the phalanx of legal resources that the state uses against them,” said Charles James, a prominent criminal defense attorney in St. Peters, Missouri. “The admission of botched hair sample testimony is not only unjust but also tips the scales against the defendant even more.”

In the Ferguson case, the Missouri State Public Defender’s Office has documented that the FBI analyst involved, Michael Malone, made several errors and that he “exceeded the limits of science” when he claimed that the hair “could be associated with a specific individual to the exclusion of all others.” The office further stated that Malone erred in providing a statistical probability to his assertion and in citing other comparisons done, all in order to support his findings.

However, Tom Dittmeier, the prosecutor who handled Ferguson’s two murder trials that led to his execution on March 26, 2014, has insisted that there was plenty of incriminating evidence to convict Ferguson and that not admitting the faulty hair analysis would not have mattered in his case.

“The prosecution may have had compelling evidence in the case of the executed man from Missouri, but the revelation about the faulty hair analysis has now cast some doubt on that assertion,” James said. “And it begs the question of just how many innocent people have been wrongly convicted based on erroneous testimony.”

Learn more at http://www.jameslawgroup.net/.

James Law Group, LLC
14 Richmond Center Court
St. Peters, MO 63376

Phone: 636.397.2411
Toll Free: 800.229.7112

Facebook

Google+


View Larger Map

  • Columbia Office
    James Law Group is proud to announce the opening of our second location in Columbia, Missouri. With offices in St. Peters and Columbia, we look forward to being able to better serve our clients’ legal needs throughout eastern and central Missouri. Columbia Office has a location that is easy to find. We are on Stadium […]
  • Case before Supreme Court
    Firm partner, John James, to argue a case before the Missouri Supreme Court in April, 2015 regarding a police officer’s immunity from a law suit under State and Federal law. Plaintiff has alleged that the police officer provided false and misleading information to the prosecutor and the court, which resulted in her arrest and prosecution.
  • Missouri bans deadly highway guardrail
    The Missouri Department of Transportation has banned a type of highway guardrail implicated in the deaths of at least 14 motorists, including one Missouri man. Missouri resident Brad Abeln was killed in January after another driver swerved and pushed him into the guardrail. According to whistleblowers, the faulty guardrail contains a steel bar that should […]
  • This Thanksgiving, stay safe on Black Wednesday
    Most Americans know about Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers hit the malls and online stores to pick up huge savings on their Christmas shopping. Fewer Americans are aware of Black Wednesday — the day before Thanksgiving. The term originated in the hospitality industry in reference to the packed bars that characterize […]
  • More deaths and injuries linked to GM ignition switch defect
    The independent administrator of the General Motors (GM) compensation fund has found more deaths and injuries caused by the faulty ignition switches than GM originally found on its own. The new count includes at least six more deaths and four more injuries that GM has not acknowledged. And the independent administrator, Kenneth Feinberg, says that […]

Tags:

Comments are closed.

Flickr Digg Yahoo! Technorati MySpace Delicious RSS