Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Worthless" Forensic Technique

60 Minutes teamed up with the Washington Post to look into a forensic technique called “bullet lead analysis” that had been used by the FBI for over 30 years. The technique was recently found to be flawed. It wasn’t even scientifically proven. A former FBI chief metallurgist performed his own research on the testing and found that the technique isn’t “based on science at all, but rather had been based on subjective belief for over four decades.” He added, “It’s worthless as a forensic tool.” Many cases that used this technique as testimony are now being called in to question. At first, the Justice Department was reluctant to tell those who were convicted on this evidence that bullet lead analysis is flawed. But because of the story, the FBI will now “identify, review and release all of the pertinent cases.”

Here is the 60 Minutes story via the Washington Post:

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