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Texas to review cases involving microscopic hair analysis

In many criminal cases that go to trial physical evidence plays an important role. Accordingly, the way in which that evidence is handled is extremely important. If there are issues with the forensics conducted upon pieces of evidence, and that information is presented at trial, the outcome of a trial could be flawed and an innocent person could be found guilty.

One type of evidence that may be offered at a criminal trial is microscopic hair analysis. Currently, a total of 20 labs located throughout the state conduct hair analysis tests. Recently the Texas Forensic Science Commission announced its intention to review all of the state's convictions that involved testimony on the subject.

This move is noteworthy as Texas is the first state to undertake such a review. It follows the announcement made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding its intention to review 2,000 criminal cases where microscopic hair analysis played a role. That review was commenced because of situations where it was deemed that the individuals who conducted the hair analysis tests, "overstepped the bounds of the science" in the course of their testimony. The Innocence Project of Texas indicates that Texas following the lead of the federal government is a good idea. This is because some of the individuals who conduct the work in the state of Texas were trained by the FBI.

It is important that all individuals facing criminal charges receive a fair trial if that is the route they select. Situations where testimony regarding the evidence being presented is not handled properly can result in outcomes that are unjust. In many cases working with a criminal defense lawyer can keep those instances to a minimum.

Source: The Austin Chronicle, "Hair Analysis: The Root of the Evidence Problem," Jordan Smith, Jan. 13, 2014

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