On Saturday, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice made a stunning admission: A team of their scientists had used flawed science for years, then testified against defendants in hundreds of criminal trials using their erroneous conclusions. The FBI found that 26 of its 28 examiners in the "microscopic hair analysis unit" gave overstated testimony in 268 trial cases, and that 96 percent of the time that testimony favored the prosecution. The cases took place between 1972 and 1999.
The defendants in 32 of the cases received a death sentence. Of those, 12 have already been executed. One of those took place in Missouri.
The FBI is still completing its review, but Tricia Bushnell, legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project, says the bad science the FBI used for decades has likely trickled down into Missouri's local forensic labs.
"State analysts are doing what the FBI taught them to do, and so we'll have to review those cases as well," she says. "Our regional crime labs went to these trainings taught by the FBI."More »