May 20, 2004
U.S. Government Says, Whoops!
May 20, 2004 10:33 PM
The Uncivil Litigator should be feeling quite justified: Attorney Brandon Mayfield, arrested two weeks ago on the basis of a match with fingerprints found at the Madrid bombing, was freed today after Spanish police said that fingerprints on a bag containing detonators like those used in the bombing were not his after all. Spanish police said that the fingerprints actually belonged to Algerian Ouhnane Daoud, who remains at large.
Following Daubert there have been a number of articles concerning the absence of scientific evidence to support fingerprint analysis. Despite Daubert, fingerprint evidence is still accepted in courts. Network TV is inundated with CSIs and other crime shows where the viewers are impressed with the evidence produced by partial fingerprints to nab the perp, all in one hour. Either the science should be established or Daubert should be applied or perhaps reversed. Look at what this lawyer went through. Who will give him back his life?
I've searched for words to accurately express my reaction to the news that my suspicions about the government's actions against Mayfield turned out to be true, and I just can't find them.
Set the fingerprint issue aside for a moment. Even if the fingerprint DID match, what reason did the government have for arresting this innocent American on American soil as a material witness, as opposed to merely surveilling him? We now know that there was no reason at all.