Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Deputy famous for dog scent lineups will retire

Excellent news! Fort Bend Sheriff's Deputy Keith Pikett - who has earned national disapprobation over his use of dog scent lineup - announced today he will retire, reports AP:
A Texas sheriff's deputy facing lawsuits over claims that his bloodhounds match lingering scents on crime scene evidence to suspects is retiring.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Pikett will retire at the end of January. Sheriff Milton Wright said Wednesday that Pikett told him last week he is ready to "hang it up."

Pikett is the defendant in at least three lawsuits from men who say they were wrongly jailed after dogs sniffed them out. Authorities eventually dropped charges in the cases. Pikett maintains his dogs are accurate in sniffing out bad guys.

Wright says the 63-year-old deputy was not forced to retire. He will be retained as a reserve deputy and continue to work for the sheriff's department in a reduced role.

Now the Attorney General or somebody needs to go back through the 2,000+ cases in which Pikett testified and determine how many convictions were based primarily on his dogs' testimony. I have little doubt that innocent people have been accused and convicted in Texas courts as a result of this flawed and untested technique.

See prior, related Grits posts:


Anonymous said...

I still want to know why this man was not prosecuted for perjury. I recall reading where he lied under oath about his qualifications, claiming to have a degree he did not have. He should be retiring to prison. But, that's Texas where the laws don't apply to anyone with a badge.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

That's a real good question. I think the answers are A) a DA in one of the counties where he testified falsely about his credentials would have to file the criminal case, and B) the instances documented were in the case of first impression where the 14th Court of Appeals approved him as an expert, so in that case the statute of limitations has probably run out. That's another reason why somebody needs to comprehensively vet all the cases he worked in - it's possible he's continued to misrepresent his qualifications when he testified in more recent cases.

Nick said...

The AG's office won't vet his cases. Their special prosecutors have repeatedly called him in to assist in murder cases.

Faceless Man said...

One of those cases is a DP case from Sugar Land (re: Bart Whittaker). Wonder if his appelate attorneys have anything in the works.