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945 LA cases under review due to fingerprint exams

945 LA cases under review due to fingerprint exams

Police fingerprint examiners whose errors falsely implicated two people in crimes have been linked with 945 other cases that police said must be reviewed to ensure their accuracy.
The Los Angeles Police Department's top fingerprint experts hope to have all the cases reviewed in three months, starting with about two dozen cases awaiting trial, said Deputy Chief Charlie Beck.
Officials said a limited number of reviews have found no new wrongful charges stemming from errors.
The fingerprint unit came under scrutiny last fall after a department report detailed that at least two people were falsely arrested over the years due to faulty fingerprint analysis. Charges were dropped in the two cases after mistakes were spotted.
The department responded by firing one analyst, disciplining others, replacing supervisors and hiring more staff. Six analysts blamed for the mistakes have not been allowed to resume fingerprint work, Beck said.
Police Chief William Bratton also created a multi-agency task force to audit cases and reform the 80-person unit.
Officials said they plan to conduct random sample tests for the entire unit to look for the possibility of additional problems.
Prosecutors said fingerprint evidence likely played a minor role in the cases.
"In a lot of these cases, the fingerprint evidence wasn't necessary. In most of these cases, there were (guilty or no contest) pleas," said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.


Updated : 2021-06-21 03:29 GMT+08:00