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Was that pubic hair on the blanket really Oswald's?


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In a Washington Post article published today we learn that several death penalty cases are being reviewed because the forensic science or "science" behind the convictions is not very convincing. The WaPo begins by criticizing hair analysis and how FBI testimony makes up "matches" where none exist:

The unusual collaboration came after The Washington Post reported last year that authorities had known for years that flawed forensic work by FBI hair examiners may have led to convictions of potentially innocent people, but officials had not aggressively investigated problems or notified defendants.

At issue is a once-widespread practice by which some FBI experts exaggerated the significance of “matches” drawn from microscopic analysis of hair found at crime scenes.

Since at least the 1970s, written FBI Laboratory reports typically stated that a hair association could not be used as positive identification. However, on the witness stand, several agents for years went beyond the science and testified that their hair analysis was a near-certain match.

The new review listed examples of scientifically invalid testimony, including claiming to associate a hair with a single person “to the exclusion of all others,” or to state or suggest a probability for such a match from past casework.

Is the technique used to positively identify the pubic hair allegedly found in the Paines' house considered scientifically valid today? Can it be included among the exaggerations explained above?

Edited by Pat Speer
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Guest Robert Morrow

Can we please get the option to edit the title as well as the body? The hair was pubic, not public. :rant

They don't want people changing the names of old threads ...

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Can we please get the option to edit the title as well as the body? The hair was pubic, not public. :rant

I fixed it for you.

As far as your initial question, I'm fairly certain the FBI testified that the pubic hair on the blanket was "consistent" with it being Oswald's pubic hair. And it was. It was also consistent with it being the pubic hair of millions of other Americans.

That's the problem with forensic science, and forensic scientists. They are under constant pressure--from detectives and prosecutors--to misrepresent evidence which is consistent with a defendant's guilt as clear evidence of their guilt.

There are a number of instances in which the evidence has been misrepresented against Oswald.

The palmprint on the rifle being but one. I mean, they purportedly found a print on the rifle, in a location only accessible when the barrel is removed. This print, moreover, was purportedly a dried print. This is totally consistent with the rifle being Oswald's rifle, but gives no indication whatsoever that he fired the rifle on 11-22-63.

Edited by Pat Speer
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