Forensics From 10K Criminal Cases to Get New Review

Cases as far back as 1985 to get a second look by Justice Dept, FBI
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2012 11:12 PM CDT
Updated Jul 11, 2012 4:40 AM CDT
FBI, Justice Dept. Reviewing Forensics in Thousands of Cases
A forensic scientist prepares open a package with clothing connected to a sexual assault case.   (Getty Images)

The Justice Department and FBI have launched the FBI's biggest-ever post-conviction review, taking a second look at thousands of cases to determine whether defendants were wrongly convicted because of faulty forensic analysis. The review will examine all cases involving FBI Laboratory hair and fiber examiners going back to at least 1985, reports the Washington Post, which revealed earlier this year that Justice officials failed to inform defendants or their attorneys in hundreds of cases about flawed forensic work that could exonerate them.

The exact number of cases that will be reviewed is unknown, but the FBI is starting out with more than 10,000 federal and local cases from around the country that were referred to its examiners. The review will include help from the Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, a Justice Department spokeswoman says. "Mistakes were made. What is important now is our working together to correct those mistakes," the association's president says, adding that the organization will "fully assist in finding and notifying all those who may have been affected." (More Justice Department stories.)

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