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FBI reviewing faulty lab evidence

July 11, 2012 at 1:36 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 11 (UPI) -- The FBI will review thousands of convictions in the largest study in its history to find out if faulty lab work led to wrongful convictions, officials say.

The focus is on work done by hair and fiber specialists at the FBI laboratory, which does forensic work for local and state as well as national law enforcement agencies, The Washington Post reported. The agency plans to review all cases dating back to at least 1985.

"The Department and the FBI are in the process of identifying historical cases for review where a microscopic hair examination conducted by the FBI was among the evidence in a case that resulted in a conviction," Nanda Chitre, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement Tuesday. "We have dedicated considerable time and resources to addressing these issues, with the goal of reaching final determinations in the coming months."

The Innocence Project, which uses DNA testing to help clear the wrongly convicted, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers will help with the review, Chitre said.

The Post reported in April that the Justice Department knew of faulty work at the FBI lab but had not reviewed cases in which the findings might have led to a wrongful conviction or notified those convicted or their lawyers of possibly dubious evidence.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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