|By Bob Weaver|
Fred Zain is part of the dark history of the West Virginia State Police as their key forensics expert, who testified in hundreds of State Police cases that convicted what turned out to be innocent victims.
The convictions and incarcerations based on Zain's forensic work is a troubling story that continues in WV news this past week.
READ When Experts Lie
READ Fred Zain
Millions of dollars have been awarded victims of Zains testimony, plus more millions in cases of police abuse.
It is widely accepted that, by far, most officers hold themselves to high standards of performance.
Further problematic is a continuing system used by the State Police to continue to secret internal investigations of officers, even though the West Virginia Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.
The agency has long fought a Civilian Review Board regarding internal matters, where one or two civilians would be placed on the professional review board, and have also fought the proposition that their control of lab forensics, in itself, was a conflict of interest and should be conducted by an independent lab.
They have stuck to police investigating police and providing what many believe is a conflicted forensic lab system.
Fascinatingly, during an earlier investigation of on-the-ground state policemen, they supported such changes with the agency.
The dark history continues with the release of Jimmie Gardner after 25 years, on a charge of sexual abuse using Zain's forensics, described as an "extreme miscarriage of justice."
Read more Citing Zain testimony, judge orders new trial or release for former Charleston Wheeler By Kate White, Staff Writer for the Gazette-Mail