We stopped because it was making us look bad

It seems the FBI doesn’t like being wrong:

Nearly every criminal case reviewed by the FBI and the Justice Department as part of a massive investigation started in 2012 of problems at the FBI lab has included flawed forensic testimony from the agency, government officials said.

According to a Justice Department spokesman, officials last August completed reviews and notified a first wave of defendants in 23 cases, including 14 death-penalty cases, that FBI examiners “exceeded the limits of science” when they linked hair to crime-scene evidence.

However, concerned that errors were found in the “vast majority” of cases, the FBI restarted the review, grinding the process to a halt, said a government official who was briefed on the process. The Justice Department objected in January, but a standoff went unresolved until this month.

Yup, the FBI decided to stop the review because it was showing they had messed up. And this wasn’t just for small cases:

The report said the FBI took more than five years to identify more than 60 death-row defendants whose cases had been handled by 13 lab examiners whose work had been criticized in a 1997 inspector-general investigation.

As a result, state authorities could not consider whether to stay sentences, and three men were put to death. One of those defendants, who was executed in Texas in 1997, would not have been eligible for the death penalty without the FBI’s flawed work, the report said.

Obviously the FBI would rather allow a potentially innocent person to be executed than get some bad publicity.

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