Daily Archives: December 27, 2009
I’ve written in the past about what I call "Xeroxed reports" in DUI cases — the increasingly common practice by lazy and/or dishonest cops to simply copy the facts from other reports or use templates in creating an essentially false investigation report. See Ready-Made DUI Arrest Reports and "Xeroxed" DUI Symptoms. For an example of an actual template, see my post Cops "Xeroxing" DUI Arrest Reports.
In today’s news, the latest one to get caught (by defense attorneys):
Polk County Deputy Violated Policy in DUI Cases
Sheriff’s Office Says Tex Thomas Used "Shortcuts" Such as Cut-and-Pasting
Bartow, FL. Dec. 27 — Earlier this year, prosecutors abandoned 54 DUI cases after learning that Deputy Tex Thomas had cut-and-pasted words from previous reports. In one instance, he left the last name of one defendant in the report of another defendant.
In addition, prosecutors were concerned that Thomas didn’t observe drivers face-to-face for 20 minutes before conducting breath tests. Instead, he would count the drive back to the testing facility as part of that time. Law enforcement officers must observe DUI suspects for 20 minutes before a breath sample is taken to make sure the suspects aren’t belching, vomiting, or ingesting anything that might affect the test.
In findings of an internal investigation released last week, the Sheriff’s Office said Thomas had violated a general order regarding competency, job knowledge and proficiency…
The investigation into Thomas began after defense lawyers noticed similarities within his reports…
Lakeland lawyer Tom McDonald said the issue went beyond bad report writing. He accused the deputy of misrepresenting facts in his sworn reports.
"These aren’t similarities," he said. "This is verbatim observations of one person put into another person’s arrest report."…
So what happened to the cop?
Thomas received a "letter of guidance" and must attend a report-writing class…
Gary Hester, chief of staff at the Sheriff’s Office, said Thomas gave defense lawyers issues to attack in his cases.
"Really, what happened here is that defense attorneys get paid good money to create the appearance of problems in cases," he said…
Hester disagreed [with McDonald], saying he didn’t think there were any "integrity issues" with Thomas, and the matter shouldn’t have a long-term effect on his career. He said Thomas’…goal was to "speed the process up so he could take more drunks off the street."
No big deal, right? I mean, if you’ve seen one drunk driver you’ve seen them all. Who needs truthful police reports or actual evidence? The important thing is to get those drunks off the streets.