FBI to Review Thousands of Old Cases for Contaminated Evidence - U.S. News
Months after the Washington Post revealed that lab technicians at the FBI mishandled evidence, resulting in at least three wrongful convictions, the Department of Justice has announced it will review of thousands of old cases.
The review, the largest in U.S. history, will focus on work by FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners since at least 1985, the Post reported.
In April, the Post wrote about two men who were convicted largely because of contaminated FBI hair analysis. A review of the evidence has since resulted in the release of both men.
A reporter at the Post had been working on a story about Donald Gates, a D.C. man who was released after DNA evidence proved his innocence, when he learned about Frederic Whitehurst, a lab chemist who blew the whistle on the FBI lab in the mid-1990s. Whitehurst said he watched colleagues contaminate evidence and, in court, overstate the significance of their matches.
“They were changing reports to alter the conclusions,” said David Colapinto, general counsel of the National Whistleblowers Center. “Some of it was sloppiness, but there was a whole host of problems.”