Reinstate Task Force.
Please sign our petition below.
Dear President Biden and the Biden Administration,
During your previous tenure as Vice President, a task force was created that consisted of the FBI, the Justice Department, the Innocence Project, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Both the FBI and the Justice Department acknowledged that this forensic unit had delivered flawed testimony to the courts and juries in almost every trial where there was a criminal defendant in over two decades prior to 2000.
Dr. Frederic Whitehurst was a whistleblower on this debacle. Dr. Whitehurst did attribute the flawed testimony to the levels of either experience or education of those working in the lab. He stated that the lab consisted of individuals doing complex chemical analyses while having degrees in subject areas like English and History. Dr. Whitehurst noted that the chief chemist did not even have a degree in chemistry, yet these were the people putting forth forensic results in court that they were not equipped to determine, nor deliver as definitive statements that determined the outcome of so many cases.
In HBO's special, "Atlanta's Missing and Murdered," Dr. Whitehurst also discussed the "black rain" in the lab. He stated that the ductwork would shoot the "black rain" through the vents when the system came on. According to Dr. Whitehurst, the evidence in this area would have been tainted by the debris. This creates so many questions like how could people without the experience or education differentiate from what they were supposed to be examining versus what was garbage, particularly if it happened to be relatively the same color, size, etc?
This task force was reviewing 26 of the 28 examiners for errors and with good reason. In 2002, the FBI reported that they found examiners to be reporting false hair matches. These examiners would testify to the near certainty of these matches between the hairs from a defendant and hairs found at a crime scene. They would use words like identical, exact match, etc. These examiners would then back up their false claims by citing incomplete or misleading statistics drawn from their case work. They specialized in exceeding the limits of science and did so in over 90% of the cases reviewed, which included 32 death cases where 14 died prior to being reevaluated. To make matters worse, these examiners also passed along their techniques to upward of 1,000 people who worked in the state labs.
The Trump Administration, specifically Jeff Sessions, shut this task force down quickly. They did not care that care that the FBI and the Justice Department under Obama had made a commitment, a vow even, to continue to devote their resources to addressing all cases. All, not some. One can assume that Sessions shut it down due to the massive effect that this task force would/did have on the justice system through exonerating so many individuals on possibly the state and federal levels. Approximately 46 states were involved in this review.
We are now coming to you and asking you to reimplement this task force. It is not fair that people sit in prison wrongfully convicted due to the government not wanting to deal with the fallout that will come with continuing to review these cases. Please, do the right thing and make this happen.
Thank you for your time and consideration.