Judge orders D.C. to pay $13.2 million in wrongful FBI hair conviction case

February 28 at 9:47 PM
A D.C. Superior Court judge has ordered the District government to pay $13.2 million to Santae A. Tribble, who was jailed for 28 years after being wrongfully convicted of killing a Southeast Washington taxi driver in 1978.

He was convicted at trial through exaggerated claims about the reliability of FBI forensic hair matches, a pattern uncovered by the D.C. Public Defender Service and featured in a series of articles in The Washington Post.

Tribble’s case and the others helped trigger a federal review that in April disclosed that FBI examiners systematically overstated testimony in nearly all hair match cases against criminal defendants for two decades before 2000.

Based on that finding, the Justice Department on Wednesday announced that it will look at trial transcripts from cases involving other FBI Laboratory units for similar “testimonial overstatement.”


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