Good News for Raleigh Criminal Defense Attorneys: How Flawed FBI Hair Analysis Might Have Convicted Innocent People

On July 18, 2013, the FBI announced that it will review more than 2,000 old cases where hair samples were used to secure convictions. The ambitious plan was an agreement drafted between the FBI, the Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), and a non-profit organization called the Innocence Project. According to the Innocence Project’s official website, the review has already unearthed as many as 27 wrongful death penalty convictions.

For the wrongfully convicted, the review is a glimmer of hope. Steven D. Benjamin, president of the NACDL said the review “will be critical to giving wrongly convicted people a fair chance.” Too often, convictions are obtained because defendants don’t have access to resources or to competent legal counsel. It is the intent of the law to prevent innocent people from spending even a day in prison.

Criminal defense attorneys are dedicated to ensuring their clients receive a fair trial. Too often the state obtains convictions because defendants do not have access to resources or competent legal counsel. Evidence and expert testimony is often presented that sways a jury to convict innocent people.

Accurate, unbiased, scientific forensic evidence is critical to a fair and impartial justice system.

At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we take this very seriously. This is not the first time that forensic techniques have been called into question and it probably won’t be the last. Criminal defense attorneys must be vigilant about checking the science behind forensic practices in order to protect their clients.

Every criminal defense lawyer must protect their client from the institutional bias from prosecutors who are eager to get a conviction by using questionable means or faulty scientific forensic evidence.

Anyone who could have been falsely accused and convicted deserves to have their case reviewed. Innocent people should not have to suffer in prison. The announcement is a very important step in righting some of the wrongs done by zealous and over eager prosecutors.

We expect that this is just the tip of the iceberg since this type of expert testimony was used in numerous more cases tried at the state level as well. We’ll be following the events closely over the coming weeks and months. As some of the most dedicated criminal defense attorneys in Raleigh, we know the impact this will have on the innocent and their families.