Inquiry reveals two decades of errors in FBI forensic lab, including 45 death penalty cases


#1

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#2

Well, I’m sure one could address these problems and set up better procedures and fail guards.

But I guess it’s cheaper to promote CSI and its ilk and simply make the general population relieve that science heroes don’t make mistakes.

(unless, of course, they say that global waing is real)


#3


#4

They found errors in almost every one of the 160 cases they reviewed, so they … stopped?! What the actual fuck?


#5

My thought exactly.


#6

It is like the lie detector, contraband dog, or the witch smeller; the FBI crime lab is a slight of hand magic black box of truth to trick judges and juries into convicting the designated guilty in order to keep the police metrics looking good. People belive in stupid stuff like fake moon landing hoaxes because they see real official hoaxes coming from places like the crime lab.
As a society we have been spending so many decades in nearly every walk of life trying to shave a few percentage points as statistical progress as though that were even continually possible despite diminishing returns and even adverse side affects.
At this point my trust in the police and crime investigation is so low that were I a judge I doubt I could convict anyone even with ample evidence, witnesses, and a confession.


#7

You wouldn’t have to. When someone is charged with a hundred felonies, the jury will find one or two to convict on, as a ‘compromise.’ Facing that certain knowledge, something like 95% of defendants plead guilty.


#8

I’m not surprised. If you look at the way they used to handle interrogations, you realize that the FBI is just not used to being questioned by authority and by the general public, and so don’t feel the need to have mathematically-/scientifically-provable, er, proof. They just knew that the judge and the jury would just believe the FBI man in the nice suit…

Before the policy change, the best way to not be interviewed or interrogated by the FBI was to insist on having a tape recorder or video camera recording of the event.


#9

No shit. They finally changed it. I was going to bring that up, because I think, much like the results of their interviews, calling what the crime lab did in these cases “errors” instead of “lies” is being far too charitable. Make a mistake 1/160 times, that’s an error. Make a mistake 16/160 times, that’s incompetence to the point of criminal negligence that should result in heads rolling all the way to the top. Make a mistake 160/160 times, and even if we assume that a crime lab has no better chance of getting it right than flipping a coin, the chance of getting that result without deliberately and systematically lying is 1/1461501600000000000000000000000000000000000000000.


#10

In science it is called a positive stop. They weren’t looking to quantify the problem, just identify it. They did that.

Now, cue the ‘one bad apple’ defense!


#11

I’ll bite, one bad apple spoiled the whole bunch, time to get some new uninfected apples.
Problem is that patriots in the style of those in every popular despotic regime will cry that we are weakening the country when they forget that behaviour like this has invalidated any cause for patriotism.
Does anyone even understand civil rights as meaning anything other than hate crime or discrimination category stuff?
(edit)
To qualify the above, the US is not a nation of the Japanese, French, or any ethnic group. The only claim to legitimacy, a claim that was felt to be strong enough to dispossess and cleanse the indigenous people is that the United States exists to provide a haven for natural human rights, this was called manifest destiny. Without the pretence of civil rights the US is nothing special, just a breakaway European colony illegally occupying cleansed indigenous land.


#12

I :heart: the death penalty.

A tough-on-not-crime policy is the only way things are going to progress.


#13

Evidence is for suckers.

Shareef Cousins had the perfect alibi – he was videotaped playing in a midnight basketball league at the same time the murder he was tried for occurred. That didn’t even slow prosecutors down from winning a capital murder conviction:

Prosecution also altered recorded statements made by Coach White to make
it seem like the basketball game ended before 10:00 P.M., invalidating
video footage proving Cousin was at the game. When White objected to the
tape, he was not allowed to elaborate on his objection.

That’s how do it in the Land of the Free.


#14

Every state has crime labs with similar problems. You can either try to do it right and probably get fired for a “bad attitude” or you can pencil in the answer you boss wants, clock out, and go home to sleep like a baby. Any “normal” human can repress the guilt over convicting innocent people they never met.


#15

Your history is appropriately revised and the sum of the rounding errors fully justify your outrage!

I happen to live around the corner from where John Adams drafted the MA constitution, decades before “manifest destiny” was a concept, and decades before his son repudiated it.

I guess it’s the ‘all bad apples’ defense and the ‘well the ethnic cleansing where I live was done 1,000 years ago so my hands are cleaner than yours’ riposte.

I thought we were closer in standing. Maybe not?


#16

Caruso’s gonna be pissed!


#17

The audit was only budgeted for a certain amount of time/money. They assumed the error rate would be low, so they scoped 2600 cases for review. Turns out the error rate is VERY HIGH, so to ensure a report is authored, they changed scope. This is routine. Mind you, it’s bad bad horrible from a Quality perspective, and indicates a lot more needs to be spent to get to the bottom of things, but this at least sheds light on a grand problem.


#18

Not exactly “Six Sigma,” more like “Zero Point Two Sigma.”


#19

I feel safer already.


#20

So, precisely how many innocent people were executed? If the answer to that question >0 then you have a fundamentally flawed system.

I know that the likelihood of accountability is <0 on this, but what the fuck is happening to your country anyway?