Aug 17 10:00 PM

Under the Microscope: The FBI Hair Cases

Fault Lines looks at how, for decades, the FBI used the flawed forensic method of microscopic hair analysis to convict thousands of criminal defendants


‘Under the Microscope: The FBI Hair Cases’

At least 74 Americans who were convicted of crimes, in part, by the forensic science of microscopic hair comparison have been exonerated. And scores of innocent people may still be behind bars.

The Department of Justice is currently reviewing about 2,500 criminal cases, occurring between 1972 and 1999, in which FBI testimony about microscopic hair analysis was central to a conviction. In April 2015, the DOJ announced that in cases reviewed thus far, FBI testimony was scientifically invalid 95 percent of the time.

It is a devastating assessment. How will the legal system—and the Department of Justice—respond? Fault Lines investigates the legacy of crude hair science at the FBI, and the many lives it continues to affect today.

Executive Producer: Mathieu Skene, Senior Producer: Hanaan Sarhan, Correspondent: Josh Rushing @joshrushing, Producer: Samuel Black @potter_black, Directors of Photography: Joel Van Haren @joelvh, Víctor Tadashi Suárez @tadashi_lives, Editor: Warwick Meade @warwickmeade, Production Manager: Dana Merwin @dana_merwin, Digital Producer: Nikhil Swaminathan @sw4mi, Production Assistance: Lauren Rosenfeld @lollymr, James Pace-Cornsilk @JamesCornsilk, Transcription: Deborah Reed, Archival footage courtesy CNN, Wazee Digital and The News & Observer

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