Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member andpartner
A relatively recent investigative report by the
Washington Post discovered that the Justice Department may have known for years that forensic
evidence used to convict some innocent people may have been based on flawed
forensic evidence and weak laboratory standards. Investigations revealed
that the forensic evidence used in court trials was the often the product
of agent errors, weak standards, lack of lab protocol, and limited sampling.
In some of the cases, agents were advised to only produce the forensic
evidence to support the desired conclusion of the case. As a result, the
impartiality needed for a fair trial was lacking, possibly leading to
innocent people being convicted and imprisoned. More alarming than the
original lab mistakes was the failure to notify the defendants or their
attorneys in the trials that relied on forensic evidence from these labs.
In 2009, in an
article in the NY Times, the National Academy of Sciences released a report revealing many of
the weaknesses in relying on forensic evidence from a flawed system. Recommendations
from that report include establishing a federal agency to upgrade and
standardize the policies and procedures that police and prosecutors use.
Although forensic evidence has become more popular in recent years, it
may not always be reliable, and it should never be manipulated or withheld.
Do you have questions about this post?
About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial
Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan
Washington, D.C. The association recently named him "Trial Lawyer
of the Year" (2011). He has been rated by
Washingtonian magazine as a "Big Gun" and among the "top
1%" of all lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as
"one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers" who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident
claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and
work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against
truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority,
and other automobile owners. His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest
settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA. Mr. Zambri
has also been acknowledged as one of "The Best Lawyers in America"
by Best Lawyers (2011 edition) and has been repeatedly named a "Super
Lawyer" by Super Lawyer magazine (March/April 2010)– national
publications that honor the top lawyers in America.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email
Mr. Zambri at
email@example.com or call him at 202-822-1899.