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How a Single Hair Led to 39 Years in Prison on False Conviction, Faulty Science

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A single hair has put George Perrot behind bars for nearly 30 years.

Perrot, then 17, was tried and convicted of rape and burglary based on a piece of hair found on the bed sheet of a 78-year-old woman who had been raped, The Guardian reports.

There was no blood or semen. Just the hair.

An FBI agent named Wayne Oakes testified that he knew with certainty that the hair belonged to Perrot.

Trouble is, Oakes was wrong, and Perrot is still hoping for a retrial.

Oakes is among an elite FBI unit that gave faulty testimony in hair evidence cases for two decades, a discovery recently made public. The news is expected to spur retrials for many people.

 

DEA Chief Resigns Following ‘Sex Parties’ Investigation, Lax Discipline

Michele Leonhart

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

DEA Director Michele Leonhart, who has come under sharp criticism over agents’ misconduct, has announced her retirement.

Attorney General Eric Holder said Leonhart, who served as the agency’s top administrator since 2010, told him of her plans Tuesday, The USA Today reports. 

She was the first women to serve as director.

“She has devoted her life and her professional career to the defense of our nation and the protection of our citizens, and for that, I am deeply grateful,” Holder said in written statement.

Leonhart’s last day is expected to be in mid-May,

Lawmakers became outraged this month after learning that DEA agents participated in sex parties in Columbia and received lax discipline.

“Most of the sex parties occurred in government-leased quarters where agents’ laptops, BlackBerry devices and other government issued equipment were present … potentially exposing them to extortion, blackmail or coercion,” a report on the parties said.

Calling Leonhart’s retirement decision “appropriate,” the leadership of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee issued a joint statement.

“With the opportunity now for fresh leadership, we are hopeful that the DEA can restore itself to an agency of distinction and excellence,” panel Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said.

Other Stories of Interest

 

TSA to Begin More Stringent Screening of Airport, Airline Workers After Incidents

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA will begin more stringent screening of airport and airline workers following allegations that a Delta Air Lines baggage handler was smuggling guns, In Homeland Security reports. 

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also said the security changes are a reaction to another alleged incident in which a Federal Aviation Administration employee flew to New York with a gun in his carry-on luggage.

“Immediately following the incident” with the Delta baggage handler, “TSA increased the random and unpredictable screening of aviation workers at various airport access points to mitigate potential security vulnerabilities,” Johnson said in his announcement.

In Homeland Security wrote:

Johnson said he had asked the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee to review the incidents and recommend remedies. Acting on five of the recommendations that can be implemented quickly, Johnson said that airport and airline employees who are traveling as passengers would no longer be permitted to bypass the scrutiny faced by other passengers. Anyone who boards an airplane other than on-duty pilots and crew will be screened, he said.

Airports will also be required to reduce the number of access points to secure areas and to subject airport workers to random screening throughout each workday, he said, adding that the TSA may send teams in unannounced to do random worker screens. Johnson also said the TSA is working with the FBI to continuously track the criminal histories of all aviation workers.

6 Minnesota Men Charged with Terrorism in Alleged Plot to Join ISIS

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Six Minnesota men have been charged with terrorism after the FBI alleges the suspects tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State extremists.

The friends were U.S. citizens of Somali descent. They are are Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21; Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19; Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21; Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19; Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19; and Guled Ali Omar, 20, according to the New York Daily News. 

Prosecutors allege the suspects provided material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The suspects were arrested in San Diego and Minneapolis on Sunday and are due in federal court today.

“These were focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said at a news conference Monday.

Chilling Questions Raised about FBI’s Flawed Testimony on Microscopic Hair

By The Charlotte Observer
Editorial Board

In a chilling admission last week, the FBI and Justice Department acknowledged that examiners in an elite FBI microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in more than 95 percent of trials over approximately two decades before 2000.

What’s more chilling is what we don’t yet know about additional cases across the country, including in North Carolina.

The Washington Post reports that more than 200 trials have been examined thus far in which the elite forensic unit overstated the link between hair found at a crime scene and a defendant’s hair. In cases where such testimony was given, 32 defendants were sentenced to death, and 14 were executed or have died in prison. At least 1,200 cases are still awaiting examination.

Tucked away at the bottom of the Post’s report is another disturbing note: These same FBI examiners taught 500 to 1,000 state and local crime analysts to give microscopic hair comparison testimony in the same ways. That could affect more cases in North Carolina and throughout the United States.

North Carolina, at least, is already taking steps to examine the impact. The state is one of just a few across the country that already has investigated cases involving the FBI forensics unit. Thus far, there are just three FBI cases involving North Carolina defendants, probably because the State Bureau of Investigation did its own hair analysis in state cases.

To read more click here. 

 

FBI Finds No Civil Rights Violations in Deputy Shooting of Black Man in Texas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A white sheriff’s reserve deputy who killed a black man in Tulsa, Okla., did not commit civil rights violations, the FBI has found following an investigation.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Tulsa County sheriff’s office held a news conference to announce the FBI findings.

“They found no wrongdoing,” Sheriff Stanley Glanz said at a news conference.

The FBI said it is open to “re-evaluating the matter should new information or evidence come to the surface.”

The shooting was captured by a camera worn by a deputy. After a shot rings out, the reserve deputy, 73-year-old Robert Bates, is heard saying, “I shot him. I’m sorry.”

Bates is already charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Mexican Immigrant Busted for Stealing Border Patrol Agent’s Identity

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents did a double-take after checking a bus passenger’s papers at a checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas.

The passenger’s license, birth certificate and Social Security card all identified the  passenger as 34-year-old David, a fellow Border Patrol agent assigned to the same area, Valley Central reports.

Agents knew it wasn’t David, whose last name hasn’t been identified to protect his privacy.

The man was actually 24-year-old Orlando Castaneda-Diaz, a Mexican citizen who allegedly crossed the border on April 12.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the identity was stolen.

Other Stories of Interest


Bill Will Allow Retired Federal Agents to Carry Concealed Pistol in Restricted Zones

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

LANSING — On April 14th, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 53 that will correct an oversight in a law for retired federal law enforcement agents. The bill will take effect 90 days after the signing.

Michigan statutes regulating the licensing of individuals to carry a concealed pistol had designated certain places “gun free zones,” such as schools, places of worship, sports arenas, taverns, etc. Retired law enforcement officers with a concealed pistol license were exempt from the gun free zone restriction.

The problem: The statute had defined a retired LEO as an individual who was a police officer certified pursuant to Michigan law and retired in good standing from their agency. Consequently, under the statute retired federal LEOs by definition were not retired LEOs and were not exempt from the gun free zone restriction.

The amendment to the the statute (SB 53) signed by Gov. Snyder adds federal LEOs as defined retired LEOs. Now, retired federal agents will be exempt from the gun free zone restriction.

PHOTO ABOVE: 

Greg Stejskal, Detroit Chapter SFAFBI; William Hampstead, Pres. Mich. chapter FLEOA; Mark Holloway, retired Border Patrol; Gov. Rick Snyder; Sen Rick Jones, who introduced the bill and was formerly Sheriff Eaton County; Sandra McCormick, Senator Jones’ Chief of Staff; Bob Getschman, W. Mich. Chapter SFAFBI.

All of the above pictured with the governor were involved in helping shepherd the bill through the legislative process.