MOSCOW, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - The US Justice Department and FBI delayed notifying prosecutors in scores of death-row convictions that their cases may have relied on flawed FBI forensic work, according to the Office of Inspector General report published by the Associated Press.
The report obtained by the AP shows "the inattentiveness of everyone involved in the process and a lack of focus on the need to treat those cases with urgency."
According to the report, justice officials have for years known that flawed evidence and testimony might have led to the convictions of innocent people.
At least three death row defendants have been executed before their cases were identified by the FBI for further review.
In the 1997 execution of Benjamin H. Boyle in Texas, an independent scientist later discovered that the FBI analysis was scientifically insupportable, and the testimony incorrect. The man was still executed because the FBI did not inform state authorities about the mistake in time.
The report recommends that another 26 defendants who are on death row at the moment should be notified that their convictions could be based on unreliable evidence.
The Justice Department agreed with the recommendations and is working on implementing them.
According to the government report, problems at the FBI lab started over 20 years ago, when a scientist complained that some FBI employees were fabricating evidence.
In 1996, the Justice Department launched a task force to watch over FBI activity more closely. However, the Justice Department did not properly review all of the cases by FBI examiners whose work was known to be flawed.
Throughout its history, FBI activity has been the subject of controversy and often criticized.