New Scientist mentioned that New York and North Carolina have also launched state-level reviews and that, "of the 10 per cent of cases reviewed so far, the 'vast majority' contained errors. As a result, 136 defendants, including two on death row, will receive letters informing them of their right to DNA testing as a means of proving their innocence. This is in addition to 23 letters that went out last year, including to 14 people on death row." The magazine reminds us that:
hair analysis is just one of many forensic disciplines that hinge on using a microscope to visually compare two samples and declare a match. Ballistics, fibre analysis, tyre and shoeprint comparison and tool and bite-mark analysis all take a similar approach. All came under heavy criticism in a landmark report on the state of forensic science published in 2009.
"This review is likely to have an effect on any discipline where they didn't have a statistical reference to estimate the chances of another person being a match," [national Innocence Project cofounder Peter] Neufeld says. He believes it could even filter across to disciplines with a more robust statistical basis such as fingerprinting, but which have been exposed as flawed in recent years.