Florida fingerprint expert under investigation
A veteran Florida fingerprint analyst with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office is the subject of an internal investigation and no longer allowed to analyze prints, according to a report by the Orlando Sentinel.
In its letter to more than 2,600 defense attorneys informing that their clients may have been impacted by a fingerprint expert who made mistakes, the State Attorney’s Office described the issues as “clerical errors, failure to identify prints of value and the mislabelling of print cards”.
The lawyer for the Sheriff’s Office said that the analyst has been removed from his job as a print examiner and that the sheriff’s other print examiners were reworking all of his active cases to determine if any suspects were wrongly arrested, convicted, jailed or punished because of the bungled work.
The State Attorney’s Office has identified 2,640 cases, 130 still active, in which the analyst was listed as a witness or potential witness, and must now determine if the opinion about a print was key to each client’s conviction or guilty plea.
An Orlando attorney commenting on the controversy said he doesn’t anticipate that many of the 2,640 cases are in jeopardy as law enforcement rarely relies on fingerprints alone to implicate a suspect.