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Faulty analyses could be responsible for false imprisonments

Can you imagine what would happen if you discovered that your case was mishandled and that the experts testifying overstated the importance of evidence collected? It could be devastating and result in a conviction you don't deserve. That may have happened several times in the past. Consider this story of a man who is accused of a string of attacks that took place in Sault County in 1991.

The man accused of the crimes, a 31-year-old, faced charges for kidnapping and sexual assault. The descriptions given by victims seemed to match the man, and because he'd previously been convicted of kidnapping, it seemed to fit his situation as well. During the investigation, the investigators discovered a ski mask, jacket, roll of duct tape and a small paring knife in the man's vehicle.

He had initially wanted to plead not guilty, but with state prosecutors claiming that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had overwhelming evidence, he pleaded no contest instead. In 1995, the man was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Now, the FBI has claimed that the hair or fiber analysis from this case and at least 12 others was faulty. In some cases, the analyses falsely implicated individuals. In another case, a man was released after serving 27 years in prison because the DNA test performed today found the FBI's claims to be inaccurate. Others also claim they are innocent and that the cases against them were unfairly presented and unbalanced.

In the 90s, technology had its limits, but some testimonies given by the FBI suggested that they were foolproof or reliable for the purposes of the case. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, and the evidence was given much too much weight in court.

If you're accused of violent crimes, your attorney can help you understand the evidence the prosecution has and how it should be handled in court. It's important that evidence is handled properly before trial and is present on request.

Source: Sun Prairie Star, "Inmate: Flawed FBI analyses forced plea deal, 50-year prison term," Katherine Proctor and Dee J. Hall, Oct. 30, 2017

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