Sunday, May 16, 2010

Extradited and Innocent

DNA testing isn't the only way to prove actual innocence. According to Kevin Krause at the Dallas News:

A 30-year-old man mistaken for a Dallas County fugitive spent nearly four months in an Alabama jail for crimes he didn't commit because sheriff's officials did not make routine fingerprint checks.

Samuel David Ramirez Perez was arrested in a small southern Alabama town in November after a traffic stop revealed he shared the name of a man wanted in Dallas County on 1999 felony drug charges.

After his arrest, Perez repeatedly insisted he was not the man wanted in Texas and fought extradition. But sheriff's officials here and in Alabama didn't ask each other for fingerprints they had on file that would have set Perez free.

Last month, a Dallas County sheriff's deputy flew to Baldwin County, Ala., and brought Perez to Dallas. A fingerprint analysis at the Lew Sterrett jail complex revealed the error, and sheriff's officials put Perez on a bus home to Alabama. ...

State laws governing criminal extradition don't stipulate which agency is supposed to try to match fingerprints to confirm a fugitive's identity. The Dallas County sheriff and Baldwin County sheriff blame each other for the mix-up, saying the other was responsible for verifying the innocent man's identity.

The result is that taxpayers in both counties will have to pay thousands of dollars – for Perez's 16-week jail stay and the travel costs to bring him to Dallas.

The Governor's office coordinates extraditions, but it couldn't have helped that correspondence between the states misidentified the Alabama governor, says Krause. If the fellow had ever been appointed a lawyer while awaiting his trip to Texas it probably would have prevented the whole mess.


Anonymous said...

"If the fellow had ever been appointed a lawyer while awaiting his trip to Texas it probably would have prevented the whole mess."

Yes and no. You're assumption is based on the attorney's competence and he should have been appointed an attorney.

Aside from that, it is the arresting agencies resonsibility to confirm the "hit" data entered into TCIC/NCIC by the entering jurisdiction is the same as the person they have in custody.

What Krause fails to mention is whether or not DSO entered the defendant's fingerprint classification into the wanted record entry. The defendant was arrested in 1999 so assuming he was fingerprinted then, DSO should have entered the fingerprint classification into the wanted record entry. That's called "packing the record." If the fingerprint classification was entered, the Alabama authorities should have compared it at the time of arrest.

Krause's article does not say if the person in Alabama had the same date of birth, color of eyes and hair, drivers license number, social security number, other characteristics such as scars, tatoos and amputations that DSO may have entered.

Matt said...

Ahh, anonymous,
Do you work for the Gov?
Tris whole case shows that the vaunted police forces we're entrusting with our liberty are as slipshod as any organization.
This poor man languished in jail and you play pass the buck.
Good work anonymous friend.

Anonymous said...

Well Matt, care to share your knowledge as to how TCIC/NCIC and NLETS is suppose to work?

I don't work for the governor and if I did and worked in extraditions this would not have happened.

I'm retired law enforcement and know a ittle bit about fugitives from justice.

What's your experience?

rodsmith said...

night not have had a lawyer then. Any bets he's got one now. A nice civil rights lawyer. Only question for the lawyer is which bunch of screwups to sue first.

You got to love the american govt.

It is IT'S own worse enemy.

Detective Agency said...

Feel strange to read this blog actually. I thought that DNA testing is only or the final test to prove anyone's innocence.

Anonymous said...

DNA testing proves anyone's innocence? Absolutely not. What about the those who are misidentified out of a photo lineup? What about the hundreds if not thousands of cases where there is NO DNA?

Anonymous said...

They should have sent him home on a first class ticket will all expenses paid. And had a limo to take him from the airport to his residence.

I hope he gets some nice compensation for this administrative recklessness.

Adrienne Dunn said...

I just got off the phone with a client with a similar story. After having her wallet stolen, theft by check warrants began popping up all over Texas. While renewing her DL license in Dallas, she was arrested for an active warrant from New Braunfels. She sat in the Dallas jail for 20 days, then rode for 8 hours in a car to New Braunfels. Sat there for 2 weeks. Extradition delays adds a whole new element to wrongful arrests.

Adrienne Dunn said...

I am responding to a previous comment that saying the man in this story has a great law suit. Who can he sue? How does he get around quailified immunity? I get calls from people all the time assuming that people can sue the police for their mistakes. I'm sorry that we have been led to believe this, but there are VERY few successful law suits against the police. Immunity protects most police action.

Anonymous said...

If an NCIC/TCIC problem could be to blame here, it would have to be in the wide range of formats that each state uses to enter in wants and criminal history information, and an amazing lack of dispositions on histories. I deal with Texas CCHs all the time, but throw another states CCH at me and it'll take me a minute to figure out exactly what it is trying to tell me. Somebody dropped the ball in this case and the taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill.

machine said...

Anon 5/16 3:42pm

Who cares about what your insight on arrest/ fingerprint policies...Government agencies screw-up all of the time...THe problem is that when they do they do not admit wrong or claim accountability...they simple pass the buck and screw the innocent (usually the poor).

What makes me laugh is this poor bastard had his civil rights violated because someone ( he said she said) didn't do their job...The Tx.Gov. spent the time and money (tax payer money) to extradite him and when they realized WOOPS...they stick him on a Gray Hound Bus from Dallas Tx. to Baldwin Co. Alabama and act like nothing wrong ever happened.

What's sad that unless some true humanitarian civil rights attorney (do they excist) picks up his case and waves fee...neither Tx or Al will be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

Its only a little over 4 hours between Dallas and New Braunfels.

machine said...

...and your point!?!?

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