From the February 2007 Idaho Observer:

Writ Writers’ Corner

by Hal V. Parfait

When I heard about a case wherein it was proven that a district attorney withheld DNA evidence from three defendants in order to bolster his own floundering case, a question arose in my mind: "Do other experts lie in order to secure convictions?"

What I discovered is that the problem of the state manufacturing/falsifying and/or withholding evidence and its witnesses committing perjury to aid the state in obtaining convictions is so widespread as to border on being a rule rather than an exception. The problem is intensified by the fact that the state actors and court officers do not view these justice-obstructing acts as crimes in and of themselves; the "crime" is getting caught. Following is just a sampling of what turns up when you go out in search of state witnesses caught lying in court:

Federal experts

FBI supervisory forensic examiner David Williams said of U.S. Secret Service Crime Lab employee and veteran expert witness Larry Stewart, "...his analyses are scientifically unsound...and are biased in favor of the prosecution," when Williams was indicted for perjured testimony.

FBI Crime Lab ballistics expert Kathleen Lundy admitted that testimony was false and FBI Crime Lab forensic examiner Wallace Higgins was "accused of altering forensic reports."

FBI forensic technician Jacqueline Blake was accused of failing to compare DNA evidence with control samples in at least 103 cases over 5 years. She quit.

State experts

Concepcion Basanot of the Baltimore County Police Lab gave intentionally false testimony about blood type. He was allowed to retire.

Forensic scientist Timothy Dixon of the Illinois State Police Lab falsely testified to exaggerated statistics in a rape case in favor of the prosecution.

Forensic serologist Pamela A. Fish, PhD., of the Illinois State Police Lab reportedly gave false testimony in nine cases, including trials that resulted in wrongful rape convictions. Fish was transferred.

Forensic serologist Mary Furlong of the Illinois State Police Lab found that the defendant’s blood type was different than that found in the female victim—but failed to tell anyone (Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F2D 985, 991-993).

Todd Owen McDaniel of the West Virginia State Police Lab sent a falsified a lab report on suspected marijuana back to Hamlin State Police.

Dr. Faidherbe Ceus of New York’s Westchester Medical Center pleaded guilty to perjury. He lost his medical license, paid a $2,000 fine and spent nine months in prison.

David Harding of the New York State Trooper’s Troop C’ forensic unit admitted to planting fingerprint evidence in numerous cases to protect fellow Troop C officers.

New York State Southern Tier Regional Police Lab forensic chemist Judith McMorris certified that she had performed tests that she had not conducted.

Jan Bays, MD, of Portland, Oregon, was accused by the courts for giving false testimony by stating that children do not lie about being sexually abused.

Washington State Police Crime Lab DNA analyst Dr. John Brown was suspended and later resigned because he was captured on videotape stealing heroin that had been sent to the lab for analysis.

Arnold Melinkoff of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab was accused of overstating or misrepresenting findings related to hair analysis; it was recommended that he be fired.

Detective Robert Perez, the crimes investigator for the infamous Wenatchee, Washington, child sex ring scandal, used his own children to build a case and was accused of using threats to tally 27,726 counts of child rape—all of which were later completely discredited.

Donald K. Phillips of the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab testified that he was a chemistry major when he only had a degree in agricultural science. He was fired, reinstated and then resigned.

Sandra Anderson of Detroit Great Lakes Search and Rescue planted evidence so a dog could get a positive hit.

Jack R. Pattertson of the Wisconsin State Police Crime Lab skipped dye-laser and immersion tests then claimed in his report that he had conducted the tests.

An unnamed technician from the Pennsylvania Police Lab falsified evidence that convicted a man in 1964.

Janice Road Cap of the Pennsylvania Police Lab falsified evidence that convicted a man who was freed after 28 years in prison.

Winnwbago County, Wisconsin Coroner Michael Stelter gave perjured testimony regarding lab findings for an examination he never performed. San Antonio, Texas, police officer and forensic chemist Fed Zain (also on the run from West Virginia investigators, now deceased) perjured serology tests.

Ralph Erdman of Lubbock, Texas, falsified coroner tests or never performed autopsies.

These are just a few reported examples to give our readers an idea of how widespread the problem of corrupted evidence—and corrupted "expert" witnesses really is. The problem appears to be tolerated by the courts because few are prosecuted to replace those they have helped to be wrongfully imprisoned (or executed); most are suspended, transferred or allowed to retire, presumably with benefits.

Several cases not mentioned here show a pattern indicating that anyone with a fake degree and good interpersonal skills can get hired at almost any police crime lab. In one case, Sgt. Dusky Hesskew of the Austin, Texas Police Crime Reconstruction Department, claimed he could "see" microscopic evidence with his naked eye.

The paragraph above may cause a chuckle because of the absurdities it implies, but men and women are in prison for decades on lies that may not be discovered until after the prisoner dies of old age or lethal injection—or never discovered at all.

Spouses leave each other amid expert scientific testimony, taken under oath, that frames one or the other for molesting their children when no such molestations ever took place.

What do you think:

Is it appropriate for states’ "experts" who perjure themselves, falsify evidence, plant evidence or fraudulently represent their credentials to the courts, to retire with full benefits or be fired, transferred, fined or sentenced to serve a few months in prison? Or, should they be subject to the same penalties of perjury to which we could be expected to suffer—up to 25 years?

As a practical matter, it is advisable for all defendants whose convictions are linked to evidence presented to the court via "expert" prosecution testimony, particularly from forensic "experts," to check on their credentials and occupational history.

"You cannot escape the results of your thoughts...Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain or rise with your thoughts, your visions, your ideals. You will become as small as your controlling desire or as great as your dominant aspiration." ~James Lane Allen (1849-1925)

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