The war on terror
The case of Brandon Mayfield demonstrates how bad science and overzealous investigators can devastate a person's life. Mayfield, a Portland attorney, was jailed for weeks after his fingerprint was supposedly found on evidence in the Madrid train bombings of March 11. An article in the national criminal defense lawyers' magazine details the flawed investigation.
An FBI supercomputer initially made the match on his print, which was confirmed by bureau experts. As a result, the FBI conducted "sneak and peak" searches of Mayfield's home, business and car. Finding Spanish documents and information he was a Muslim, he was imprisoned.
But it turned out the print match was completely wrong. And the supposed documents were the Spanish homework of Mayfield's kid. After 19 days behind bars, Mayfield was released and the FBI issued a rare apology.