Friday, September 02, 2005

NYT: "F.B.I. Abandons Disputed Test for Bullets From Crime Scenes" (Eric Lichtblau)

F.B.I. scientists said Thursday that they would abandon a controversial bullet-matching technique that had been used in thousands of investigations.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it still had confidence in the scientific reliability of the technique, which is known as bullet lead analysis and analyzes the chemical composition of a bullet. But in light of criticism of how the results were interpreted in court, the bureau said it would stop conducting the tests.
[. . .]

"This whole episode is a huge black eye for the F.B.I.," said William Thompson, a professor of criminology at the University of California, Irvine, who has studied the issue. "There are many cases where examiners were giving testimony that was wholly unreliable in claiming they could determine the same bullets came from the same box."
Ken MacFadden, a chemist who headed the National Research Council panel that produced last year's report, said juries were often led to believe from F.B.I. testimony that a "match" of two bullets could be likened to a conclusive DNA match, when it might be no more definitive than two people sharing a blood type.

The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "F.B.I. Abandons Disputed Test for Bullets From Crime Scenes" in this morning's New York Times. KeShawn says this is the spotlight story for today in the paper (I agree) and wonders why the last two paragraphs above are buried at the end of the piece?

Democracy Now! will cover many issues today (and, like Marcia says, it's "always worth watching" or reading or listening to) but Rod didn't get the e-mail yesterday so he instead notes this on Katrina vanden Heuvel (The Nation):

And watch vanden Heuvel TOMORROW morning, Friday, on CSPAN's Washington Journal at 9:00am taking viewer questions on Hurricane Katrina, Iraq and other topical issues. The program airs at different times nationwide so check local listsings or the website below for confirmation.

9:oo am refers to eastern time. And it airs today, Friday. Click here to watch live online.

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