May 21, 2001
In what the media call the "most high-profile" case in decades, the FBI "blundered" –so said Louis Freeh. And he ought to know, he's the head of the FBI. The case he was talking about, of course, was that of Timothy McVeigh. The "blunder" was the FBI's forgetfulness in "misplacing" evidence.
Accept, for the sake of argument, that the blunder in the McVeigh case was an "innocent" one –just an oversight.
There are many other cases where the "blunders" are not so innocent, and where the defendents, much less well-known than McVeigh, get swallowed up by the justice system.
Ironically, one of these more "ordinary" blunders just came to light in Oklahoma City itself.
A man who had been convicted of rape in Oklahoma City 15 years ago was just released from prison, after his lawyers managed to prove he had been framed up by police for the crime.
The chemist for the Oklahoma City police testified at his original trial that body and scalp hairs as well as semen samples proved he was the rapist. This was the main evidence against the man, since the rape victim had not identified him at the time of the crime.
The defense never got a chance to have this "evidence" independently examined. The police and prosecution "neglected" to turn the evidence over to the defense –until the trial was over.
For the next 15 years, the man's family attempted to have the evidence examined, only to be turned down by the prosecutor, the courts and the FBI. Only this year, finally, as the result of a new law, his attorneys were allowed to have the evidence examined by an independent laboratory. It found that nothing linked the man to the crime. Only then did the FBI confirmed the new findings.
This was not the only "blunder" made by this police chemist. Over the years, other scientists working in her field criticized her for drawing conclusions which the evidence didn't support. Nonetheless, the Oklahoma City prosecutor's office not only continued to use her, it repeatedly gave her awards because she was such a good witness for the prosecution.
In other words, she manufactured evidence so well.
Among the people convicted based essentially ONLY on her testimony were 23 people sentenced to death, 11 of whom have already been executed.
It comes as no surprise that police manufacture evidence, that prosecutors subborn perjury –and that afterwards they do all they can to prevent the truth from being discovered, even when an innocent person is put to death.
This is simply the law which ordinary people confront –in all its "majesty."