More on the Donna Birks, Seminole County fingerprint fiasco
This story is starting to get very scary.
SANFORD -- An internal investigation into the fingerprint scandal at the Seminole County Sheriff's Office has now spread to management.If its discovered bad work by Birks or others put those two men on death row, then the fingerprint people need to be prosecuted for attempted. That is what Birks, McQuay and Williamson did. They will have put an innocent person in jail with his life to be taken at a future. There won't be any justice till Birks and any others are all in jail for a very long time.
Ann Mallory does not read fingerprints, but the longtime employee supervised three department employees whose fingerprint work has been discredited.
The print examiner at the center of the controversy, Donna Birks, 49, reported directly to Mallory, according to department records.
Print analysts at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have found five bad calls by Birks. In four cases, FDLE says the prints were inconclusive.
In the fifth, Birks had said the print on the window of a burglarized 1996 Chevy belonged to a 16-year-old Oviedo boy. FDLE examiners say it belonged to someone else.
Exactly why Mallory is now under investigation is not clear. Sheriff's Lt. Dennis Lemma said that information would come out after the investigation concludes.
But according to a March memo from another department print analyst, Birks told a co-worker that Mallory was letting her cut corners, perhaps unknowingly.
When two co-workers would not verify a print identification Birks had made, Birks sent it to a retired co-worker, Bill McQuay, who did verify it, according to the memo by Tara Williamson, whose analysis also is under question.
Birks told Williamson that Mallory authorized McQuay's review, according to the memo.
FDLE says that print was inconclusive.
Mallory also allowed Birks to violate a print-reading rule by having a trainee with just three weeks of experience verify another of Birks' identifications, according to the memo.
Williamson verified two of Birks' bad calls, McQuay three, according to Chris White, Seminole County's chief prosecutor.
Williamson is still with the Sheriff's Office but no longer reading prints. McQuay, 60, retired two years ago.
Birks, Williamson and McQuay worked more than 1,200 cases that wound up in court.
Prosecutors have been combing through them for weeks, trying to identify those that hinged exclusively or nearly so on fingerprint identifications.
They've focused on 17 cases, five of them murders, and asked FDLE to rush through reworks. Two of those cases put men on death row.
Note- In one of the two death row cases, its said other evidence leads to the person was convicted. Perhaps Birks faulty work had no bearing, but a new trial needs to be ordered one way or the other.
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