Washington, D.C. (JusticeNewsFlash.com – News Report) – If the FBI presented evidence in a courtroom, would you be inclined to believe what they present as truth? Many would reply a strong ‘yes’ to this question, it’s a reliable institution, they know what they’re doing – don’t they? According to a new study revealed by 60 minutes and the Washington Post, the FBI crime laboratory in Quantico, Virginia has been using completely faulty analysis.
Bullet lead analysis has been used by the FBI for longer than 40 years in thousands of cases, many of which are now being re-addressed to examine whether or not those convicted were unjustly imprisoned. According to a CBS article, ‘the FBI believed that lead in bullets had unique chemical signatures, and that by breaking them down and analyzing them, it was possible to match bullets, not only to a single batch of ammunition coming out of a factory, but to a single box of bullets. And that is what the FBI did in the case of Lee Wayne Hunt, tying a bullet fragment found where the murders took place to a box of bullets the prosecutors linked to Hunt.’ Lee Wayne Hunt has been in jail for 22 years and 6 months for a double murder crime he claims he did not commit. But isn’t that what everyone says in jail?
But they could be right according to a study conducted by William Tobin, a former chief metallurgist for the FBI. He reported that they bullet lead analysis has ‘never actually been scientifically tested.’ How can a tool that is one of the major deciding factors on whether or not a person is convicted of a crime not have been tested? It seems too absurd to be true, a case of too much blind faith. Tobin’s study examined different bullets and discovered that bullets from the same group weren’t always the exactly the same. What is more wrong in this story is that the FBI had this knowledge, yet refrained from ever reporting it to the convicted, lawyers or judges involved.
So what is being done? One organization called the ‘Innocence Project” has helped free more than 200 wrongly convicted defendants. Since this technique has been used in the early 1980’s, there were around 2,500 cases that the FBI analyzed. This is an alarming amount of individuals who could be serving time in the midst of their innocence, back to Hunt, for example. One man knows the truth. Staples Hughes, the appellate defender for the state of North Carolina revealed his 20-year secret. Jerry Cashwell, a client of Hughes, told him how he alone had committed the double murder. He admitted that Lee Wayne Hunt wasn’t even there. Hughes had to hold this knowledge because of the attorney-client privilege, but when he committed suicide, Hughes testified that Hunt was innocent. But the North Carolina Supreme Court will not hear his appeal. The injustice of it all lies in the hands of the FBI to retract their bullet lead testimonies and make right what is wrong. Freeing Hunt would be a good start.
Written by: Jana Simard – Legal News Reporter
Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.