Flawed system plays part in death penalty debate

“The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.” This quote was from a recent article in The Washington Post by Spencer Hsu. It went on to report, “Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far, according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project, which are assisting the government with the country’s largest post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.” We have only to look locally at our own forensic lab fiasco to see that the system is flawed. In capital cases, the failure of the system may mean death to an innocent person, all in the name of justice. This is indeed a burden laid at the feet of our citizens, our legislators and our political system. I urge the House Judiciary Committee to release SB40 for a vote on the floor, so that all House legislators get a chance to vote on such a significant piece of legislation.

Beth Doty Rehoboth Beach

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