Charges against Richard Beranek were dropped after DNA proved hair and semen from rape were not his; junk hair analysis cause of numerous wrongful convictions.
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism identifies nine cases with misleading microscopic hair or fiber comparisons; one man serving life for killing a police officer in 1994 says he is innocent.
At least three men convicted in Wisconsin have been cleared in separate cases in which DNA testing proved that earlier microscopic hair analysis was wrong
The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has found nine cases in the state involving 12 defendants that featured faulty crime laboratory hair or fiber comparison. Seven cases were flagged by the national task force re-examining cases involving FBI hair and fiber analysts. Two are cases in which DNA testing showed that Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory hair comparisons linking suspects to crime scene hairs were wrong.
Richard Beranek’s conviction was overturned after serving 27 years in prison for sexual assault. His case is the latest in which flawed hair analysis by the FBI led to a wrongful conviction.
FBI admits errors in 90 percent of hair and fiber cases, including 13 in Wisconsin. Such errors are now a factor in one-fifth of all DNA exonerations.
The FBI, the New York-based Innocence Project and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers are examining nearly 3,000 cases nationwide in which the FBI may have misused microscopic hair comparison.