The Champion

March 2016 , Page 05 

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From the President: First Convictions Vacated as a Result of the Hair Microscopy Review Project Show the Effectiveness of the Joint Effort

By E.G. Morris

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For decades the FBI laboratory conducted microscopic hair comparison to determine if the characteristics of a known hair sample were consistent with those of an unknown sample for the purpose of providing evidence of identity. The FBI made its services available in state prosecutions, and in many cases examiners from the FBI laboratory testified as to their conclusions concerning the evidentiary weight of their analyses. The problem is that in the overwhelming majority of the cases in which FBI experts testified, they erroneously stated the significance of the results of the hair comparison. The errors have been categorized as follows: (1) stating that the comparison indicated that the known and unknown hair samples came from the same individual; (2) stating that there is a particular degree of probability that the hairs came from the same person, and (3) interjecting the examiner’s great experience with hair comparisons and his perceived historical accuracy to give the im

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