Today, the Washington Post ran a front-page story on the Justice Department keeping forensic flaws from defendants and defense attorneys. The NWC and FBI whistleblower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst spent years on a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case that directly lead to today’s Washington Post story.
Dr. Whitehurst, an NWC Board Member and head of the NWC’s Forensic Justice Project, blew the whistle on the misconduct at the FBI crime lab in the 1990s. Dr. Whitehurst was a top explosives expert at the FBI when he blew the whistle on serious misconduct and systemic flaws at the FBI lab.
In response to the FBI lab scandal originally uncovered by Dr. Whitehurst, the DOJ formed a Task Force to review thousands of cases impacted by Dr. Whitehurst’s allegations and to determine if any individuals were wrongly convicted. Despite promises made years ago by the DOJ and FBI to get to the bottom of this, the documents obtained by the NWC in response to FOIA requests establish that the results of DOJ’s reviews are truly scandalous. As reported by the Washington Post today, convicted defendants were left uninformed of serious flaws in the forensic evidence presented in their cases long after the DOJ had confirmed that serious problems existed.
When he left the FBI Lab in 1998, Dr. Whitehurst vowed to continue his work to help find all the defendants harmed by the FBI’s misconduct and he established the NWC’s Forensic Justice Project.
Without Dr. Whitehurst’s original whistleblowing at the FBI, and his continued perseverance through his oversight activities in the past 10 years at the NWC, this misconduct never would have come to light.
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