Washington, DC (Jan. 27, 2016) -- George D. Perrot was granted a new trial yesterday in Massachusetts based on newly-discovered evidence that the FBI's microscopic hair comparison testimony contained scientifically invalid statements. The court found that the hair examiner's testimony was "enormously influential" and material to the convictions. This decision follows a trend in recognizing that evolving science constitutes newly-discovered evidence.
"The court found that the scientific errors identified by the FBI review constituted newly-discovered evidence, that the hair comparison testimony in Mr. Perrot's case would be inadmissible if offered today, and also that it was material to his convictions," said NACDL Senior Resource Counsel Vanessa Antoun. "This illustrates the critical importance of uncovering cases with invalid or exaggerated forensic evidence and providing meaningful notification—a duty to correct that the FBI and DOJ have acknowledged through this review, which sets an important new standard for law enforcement throughout the country."
The errors in the hair comparison testimony in Mr. Perrot's case were identified through the FBI's Review, conducted in conjunction with the DOJ and in partnership with NACDL and the Innocence Project. Mr. Perrot is the first defendant to receive a new trial as a result of the findings of the Microscopic Hair Comparison Review. His is one of over 1,500 cases that have been reviewed thus far. The result in this case underpins NACDL's commitment to finding representation for all effected defendants. Indeed, NACDL's important work in this area was cited by the Court in its order.
"NACDL looks forward to courts around the country recognizing that the results of the Microscopic Hair Comparison Review constitute newly-discovered evidence," NACDL President E.G. "Gerry" Morris said. "And we encourage all state labs to undertake their own review of the hair comparison work and testimony of all FBI-trained examiners."
The United States Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Innocence Project, and NACDL reported in April 2015 that the FBI has concluded that the examiners' testimony in at least 90 percent of trial transcripts the Bureau analyzed as part of its Microscopic Hair Comparison Analysis Review contained erroneous statements. Twenty-seven of twenty-eight FBI agents/analysts provided either testimony with erroneous statements or submitted laboratory reports with erroneous statements. The review focuses on cases worked prior to 2000, when mitochondrial DNA testing on hair became routine at the FBI. That review is ongoing.
Anyone involved in a case that utilized microscopic hair comparison evidence is encouraged to contact NACDL Post-Conviction Counsel Amelia Maxfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-465-7646.
To learn more about the Microscopic Hair Comparison Review Project, please visit http://www.nacdl.org/haircomparison/.
NACDL's work in the area of forensic science reform is extensive. A link to NACDL's "Crime Labs & Forensics Reform" website landing page is available here. NACDL's Report, Principles and Recommendations for Strengthening Forensic Science in the Courtroom, is available here.
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
NACDL 2024 Annual Pass - All CLE Institute Programs
NACDL's 2024 Annual Pass gives you full access to the recordings of every CLE Institue live training seminar held in 2024! That means every CLE speech, presentation and training - along with all accompanying written materials - is yours for over 50% off! With this exclusive pass, you gain unlimited access to a treasure-trove of recent NACDL Trial Skills training that will help you win more cases!
A Defender's Guide to Federal Evidence - 2nd Edition
This brand-new 2nd Edition 2024 Guide to Federal Evidence is the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. The updated 2024 Guide analyzes each Federal Rule of Evidence and outlines the main evidentiary issues that confront criminal defense lawyers. It also summarizes countless defense favorable cases and provides tips on how to avoid common evidentiary pitfalls. The 2nd Edition Guide contains multiple new and updated user-friendly flowcharts aimed at helping the criminal defense lawyer tackle evidence problems.
Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection - 40+ Hours of Content!
NACDL's "Sexual Assault Trial Skills Training Collection" is the definitive aggregation of our 4 highest-rated and most current Sex Cases CLE trainings (2019, 2021, 2022 & 2023 ed.) and contains our most comprehensive and up-to-date assembly of sex cases trainings that NACDL has ever put together! Containing 49 separate trial skills trainings, thousands of pages of written materials and over 40+ hours of practical and pragmatic content, this collection guides you through the most intimidating sexual assault criminal trial topics.
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or email@example.com for more information.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.