A major newspaper has published an editorial highly critical of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in light of the Justice Department Inspector General’s bombshell report on the FBI Lab scandal. Last week, the DOJ IG documented serious flaws in the Justice Department’s review of thousands of criminal cases that were impacted by tainted forensic evidence from the FBI Lab. As a result of the Justice Department’s serious lapses and delays in reviewing thousands of cases affected by the FBI Lab scandal, 16 people were executed and 8 prisoners died before there was a complete review of the scientific flaws in the evidence used to obtain those convictions.
As pointed out by the Charlotte Observer, the “malfeasance” of the FBI, and the lack of a thorough or professional review by the DOJ, raises serious questions as to how many innocent people remain in jail, and how many people have been executed, as a result of thousands of convictions that relied on flawed forensic evidence from the FBI Lab.
The entire editorial is worth reading, but here is an excerpt:
At least three men were executed before a Justice Department task force fully reviewed those cases. In at least one, the defendant would not have been eligible for the death penalty without the FBI’s flawed work, the report said. (The Justice Department generally agreed with the report’s findings.)
Among the 64 on death row with questionable cases were two from South Carolina: Donald Gaskins was executed in 1991 and Leroy Drayton was executed in 1999. In addition, 17 Carolinas cases were among 402 in which defendants were convicted on evidence so problematic that the task force ordered an independent scientific review of the FBI examiners’ work. The report was able to confirm that prosecutors revealed the findings to only 15 of the 402.
This all started in the early 1990s, when FBI whistleblower Fred Whitehurst alleged that examiners were producing unreliable forensics. A Justice Department task force worked from 1996 to 2004 reviewing cases and informing affected defendants. The Inspector General reviewed the task force’s work after the Washington Post raised questions in 2012 about its performance and showed that at least three D.C. men had been convicted using sloppy FBI work. All three have been exonerated.
Read the entire editorial here: FBI malfeasance undercuts death penalty