DNA forensics, at their best, is intended to bring an air of scientific confidence to the criminal justice system, hopefully to prevent convictions of the worst kind of wrongdoing. Those are good intentions It becomes meaningless when bad cops decide to fight dirty.
Officers working at the Virginia Beach Police Department have said the suspects were involved in the crime by forcing them to confess or convict them by showing fake documents with forged DNA evidence. According to State Attorney General Mark Herring.
Police reportedly used fake DNA documents at least five times between March 2016 and February 2020. The fake lab certificates from the Department of Forensic Science in Virginia seem quite credible. The documents were decorated with an official seal and letterhead of the agency and in both cases, they were signed by a fake employee. In at least one case, DNA documents were even presented as evidence in court. (It is not clear if the documents were presented as valid DNA evidence.)
The practice was discovered in April 2021 after an assistant Commonwealth attorney requested a copy of a forged document from the state’s forensic science department. Of course, that request came empty because the requested document did not exist in the first place.
Herring said in a statement that “this is a very disturbing and potentially unconstitutional tactic that the Commonwealth has misused its name to try to force a confession.” “It has tarnished the reputation and reputation of the Commonwealth’s hard-working forensic scientists and professionals who work hard to provide accurate, strong evidence in support of our law enforcement agencies.”
The revelation about fraud is the result of an investigation initiated by Herring’s Office of Civil Rights. Now, following the investigation, the police department has entered into a two-year settlement agreement with the attorney general that would stop the recurrence of this practice in the future and add more modest reforms. None of the officers involved in the fraudulent practice appear to be willing to be punished for creating or using forged documents. Here we take a break for a joint, long sigh.
Although the Virginia Office of Civil Rights will notify individuals of interrogation using forged documents, there is no indication that there are any plans to revoke these affidavits.
Incredibly, all of this was not even technically illegal. As the Washington Post Explains, Police are usually allowed to lie during investigations unless their tactics lead to an “unintentional” confession. Explaining this, the Post quotes a 1997 quote Case In Virginia where an appeals court convicted a man of murder, police forced a man to confess by showing fake fingerprints that he was involved in the crime. Speak of justice.
“Such ploys [falsifying DNA records] The only factor to consider is whether a confession was voluntary, “said Defense Attorney Chris Leibig Post.