The January 26 opinion overturning the conviction of Massachusetts inmate George D. Perrot, which you can read about here, was important in several respects.
First and foremost, the opinion written by Hampden County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Kane was important because it could lead to the release of Perrot 30 years after his conviction on rape charges even though the victim repeatedly said the then-long-haired, bearded Perrot didn’t look like the clean-shaven, short-haired man who raped her.
Second, the opinion is important because Judge Kane’s reasoning could influence thousands of past convictions that were based on now-discredited hair-comparison analysis like that used to convict Perrot.
Equally important, though, was Judge Kane’s finding that Wayne Oakes, the FBI hair examiner who testified as an expert in the case was unduly influenced by the overzealous prosecutor in the case. In his ruling, Kane noted that the prosecutor, Francis W. Bloom, hand-delivered the hairs and other evidence to the…
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