Monday, June 1, 2009

CBLA conviction overturned in Colorado

After the FBI in 2005 abandoned a faulty scientific procedure called comparative bullet lead analysis, by which they claimed they could match bullets from a crime scene to a specific box of bullets found somewhere else, a joint task force was created consisting of national organizations such as the Innocence Project in New York and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Innocence Project of Florida was appointed as the "point office" for issues related to CBLA in Florida.

Last Sunday, the Associated Press wrote an article about Tim Kennedy, a Colorado man whose conviction has been thrown out, partly because of comparative bullet lead analysis. (You'll recall that Jimmy Ates, a client of the Innocence Project of Florida, was the first person in the nation to have his conviction thrown due to the FBI's disavowal of CBLA.)

During an interview Thursday at the Limon Correctional Facility on the Eastern Plains about 95 miles east of Denver, Kennedy cherished the thought of being a free man. Apart from spending time with his sister and brother, one of the first things Kennedy would do if he is freed is get a steak dinner...

At trial, the only physical evidence linking Kennedy to the crime was the FBI's comparative bullet lead analysis, which purported to be able to trace a bullet from a crime scene to a box of bullets in a suspect's possession. That technique has since been discredited as "exceeding the limits of science" and the FBI stopped the analysis in 2005.
Tragically, both of Kennedy's parents died within the last four years, so they will not get to rejoice in his release. But Kennedy has fond memories and nothing but gratitude for his parents' solidarity and support: "There are times when it brings you to tears when you think about how lucky you are, how things have worked out, how your family stayed with you... You know, I'll never forget my parents. They spent their life savings (on his defense). Even after that you know, they stuck with me through the rest of their lives."


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