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John Oliver calls BS on ‘fake’ forensic science that gets innocent people wrongly convicted

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Comedian John Oliver accused a slew of forensic scientists of outright racism during “Last Week Tonight” episode, and it isn’t just in real life.

“On TV and in real life, forensic science plays an important role in criminal convictions,” Oliver explained Sunday. Not all forensic science is as trustworthy as many think that it is. According to prosecutors, jurors in murder trials suffer from a “CSI effect,” and they never think about the results leaning one way or the other. Oliver cited the findings from a 2009 National Academy of Science report that explained many forensic scientists “do not meet the fundamental requirements of science.”

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A more recent report from the Presidential Science Council in 2016 revealed “expert witnesses have often overstated the probative value of their evidence, going far beyond what the relevant science can justify.”

“It’s not that all forensic science is bad, because it’s not,” Oliver said. However, the many documented problems with things like bite-marks or hair analysis are “by no means infallible.” Lawyers often use the phrase “from a reasonable degree of scientific certainty” when asking the experts to testify. Oliver argued that the phrase has a “scientific ring to it,” but according to the 2016 study, “that phrase has no generally accepted meaning in science.”

“When bad science is confidently presented, terrible convictions are possible,” Oliver said. “Among the hundreds of people who have been exonerated by DNA testing since 1989, at least half (49 percent) were involved in misapplication of forensic science.”

Judges in many cases, allow such evidence into trials due to procedures but not factual science. “Decisions about the validity of science are being made by people who don’t necessarily know much about it,” Oliver explained.

Santae Tribble spent 26 years in prison after an FBI expert said the evidence of his hair at the crime scene was rock solid. It was not. The reality was that none of the hairs found came from the same source.

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To make matters worse, many labs have relationships with law and that can allow bias into the findings. “They are supposed to be neutral,” not part of the “team” fighting for officers, Oliver went on. “If a referee started participating in a team’s end-zone celebration, you’d have some serious f*cking questions.”

Texas is one state Oliver says is leading the way on “junk” science used as evidence. The problem is so prevalent that the National Commission on Forensic Science was begun to help advise the Justice Department on how to avoid inaccurate science. However, Attorney General Jeff Sessions shut the department down in April.

“We may honestly be actively going backwards on this issue,” and more innocent people will likely be locked up while dangerous killers are free. Oliver said that if the Trump administration has no intention of helping, he had his own version of CSI to explain to people.

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White House grants press access to Christian site whose founder called impeachment a ‘Jew coup’

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The White House granted press credentials to a Christian news site whose founder claimed that President Donald Trump's impeachment was a "Jew coup" organized by a "Jewish cabal" in anti-Semitic remarks.

Five employees of the Florida-based conservative Christian news outlet TruNews received press credentials from the White House to cover Trump's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, founder Rick Wiles told The New York Times from a ski lodge reserved for press members by the Trump administration. The outlet was not granted special access to Trump, though TruNews' Edward Szall asked Ivanka Trump a question during a news conference, according to the report.

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Laura Ingraham wants to remove Adam Schiff from Congress: ‘It’s not clear that congressmen can’t be impeached’

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Fox News host Laura Ingraham floated a novel legal theory on Monday in an attempt to remove Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) from Congress: that members of Congress can be impeached.

"It’s not clear that congressmen can’t be impeached, by the way," Laura Ingraham told Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

"It's not clear that they cannot be impeached," she repeated.

Ingraham was simply wrong on the facts, the constitution does not allow the impeachment of members of Congress.

The constitutional mechanism to remove a member of Congress before the end of their two-year term is for two-thirds of the body to vote to expel the member.

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50 million trapped after China sealed off cities as virus death toll surges

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The United States and other nations raced to get their citizens out of the locked-down Chinese city at ground-zero of a virus epidemic on Tuesday, as the death toll surged to 106 and the number of confirmed infections doubled to over 4,500.

The deadly virus, which experts believe emanated from a wild animal market in the city of Wuhan last month, has triggered a desperate Chinese containment effort after spreading nationwide and to more than a dozen other countries.

The government has sealed off Wuhan and other cities in central Hubei province, effectively trapping more than 50 million people, including thousands of foreigners, in a bid to contain the virus as the high-travel Lunar New Year holiday unfolds.

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