When investigating crimes scenes, police and FBI investigators use a variety of scientific methods. One of the most important components of any crime scene investigation revolves around the collection of evidence. Of particular importance is any evidence that may aid investigators in determining potential suspects through the use of DNA analysis.

A positive DNA match can be obtained through the collection and examination of bodily fluids, such as blood and semen, collected at a crime scene. Hair samples found at a crime scene have also been used to help build cases against potential suspects. The reliance on hair samples alone as reliable and conclusive DNA evidence, however, has been disputed by the FBI since the 1970s.

Despite the FBI’s policy with regard to hair samples, such samples have been used in numerous cases to identify and convict alleged suspects. In fact, the FBI and Department of Justice recently announced plans to form a review panel which will examine evidence, including hairs, that was used to convict 27 individuals who subsequently received the death penalty.

The review of these and other cases is unprecedented and will require a massive effort on the government’s part as investigators comb through files from more than 21,000 cases. At issue is whether FBI agents gave incorrect testimony regarding hair samples that may have led to the convictions of many innocent individuals.

Colorado is one of the 32 states that currently has the death penalty. Individuals facing serious
criminal charges in Colorado would be wise to seek the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

Source: The Washington Post, ”
U.S. reviewing 27 death penalty convictions for FBI forensic testimony errors,” Spencer S. Hsu, July 17, 2013