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Anyone know about a defense expert by the name of Jeanette Hunt? She's from San Antonio. Why did DPS do away with their Expert for this area??? Is it not good science? What do you do when one of your victims offers to pay for an expert that your county cannot afford to hire???? It seems unfair to hurt the State's case when the Defendant can and will spend big bucks but is it unethical to the victim who has no money? Have had this come up once before when DP{S refused to send in an accident reconstruction team after an 18 wheeler with bald tires crossed the median and killed a young college student.We ended up having to pay but that victim's family wanted to pay too??????
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Beeville, Texas., USA | Registered: September 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You could try borrowing an expert from another agency. I recently borrowed a top fingerprint expert from the Arizona State Crime Lab. My DA and the chief of police of the agency wrote nice letters explaining that we didn't have anyone with the appropriate expertise and could they please loan us their fellow. FBI will also assist in matters like that--they have good fingerprint people. Once that aspect is covered, we just treated them as witnesses for travel purposes and the State paid the bill. (Note, this was prior to the budget cutbacks for witness travel, though).
 
Posts: 2135 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks John. That's a great idea. Do you have any thoughts on letting wealthy victims pay the fees for an expert?????
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Beeville, Texas., USA | Registered: September 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Do I understand this post correctly? Does DPSno longer utilize fingerprint experts or di I miss something here? (Wouldn't be the first time)
 
Posts: 233 | Location: Anderson, Texas | Registered: July 11, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm sorry I missed that part of the question. On one level, that seems like the sort of thing the other side could simply flesh out on cross. On another level, however, it seems like there are questions whenever anyone other than the prosecutor or the originating agency pay for investigation of a case. See generally State v. Terrazas, 970 S.W.2d 157 (Tex. App.--El paso 1998)(reviewing case dismissed by trial court because HHS was funding welfare fraud prosecutions), aff'd 4 S.W.3d 720 (Tex. Crim. App. 1999). You might find some guidance in that case in how to structure things so that the prosecution is not compromised by the fact of outside funding. Otherwise, I don't see that it runs afoul of anything in Chip Wilkinson's great book Texas Prosecutorial Ethics (TDCAA 2001), although I think it shows that the book could be expanded to cover additional areas.
 
Posts: 2135 | Location: McKinney, Texas, USA | Registered: February 15, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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DPS currently has five AFIS print techs and six latent fingerprint experts, all at our main Crime Lab in Austin. They do work crime scenes in other places, but clearly due to number and distance constraints, they can only handle a finite number of cases. I spoke with Ron Urbanovsky, the Director of the Crime Lab about this issue, and he said most of the major law enforcement agencies in Texas (big county SOs and city police labs) have latent print experts, although there are areas where they are harder to come by (the Panhandle for example).Therefore, many police agencies and prosecutors rely on experts from other agencies for fingerprint analysis and court testimony.

Janette Ansolabehere
 
Posts: 674 | Location: Austin, Texas, United States | Registered: March 28, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Obviously I'm losing my mind here. I did not mean to ask about fingerprints but handwriting analysis. My refried brain put in the wrong reference. Would all of you wonderful helpers reread the original request re handwriting experts? Thanks john for the help on the ethical question.
 
Posts: 334 | Location: Beeville, Texas., USA | Registered: September 14, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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God, I am so glad you clarified that, Warnerbee ... I thought I was so behind the curve that I had not noticed that fingerprints were no longer good stuff in Texas. That is, of course, if you're lucky enough to have ever had a fingerprint in an actual case.
 
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We recently asked our local Postal Inspector if the feds would help out with the examination of a note given to a bank teller during a robbery. They were glad to help. Might check that out.
 
Posts: 7860 | Location: Georgetown, Texas | Registered: January 25, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Martha, ain't the aging process a wonderful thing? Razz If a victim or whoever wants to pay the cost of an expert you can use, why not let them? They have been paying for special prosecutors for years. If you thought the validity of the testimony was somehow compromised by who paid or how much was paid, then I guess that might become a problem. I think handwriting analysis is a fairly accepted practice though, since experts in this field are specifically spoken of in art. 38.27 and have been recognized by the courts since the 1800's; Cf. Sosa, 841 S.W.2d at 916-7. Of course, you always have to remember the Camacho rule as well. 765 S.W.2d 431.

[This message was edited by Martin Peterson on 03-26-04 at .]
 
Posts: 2367 | Registered: February 07, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not sure I would let a victim pay a direct payment to support the prosecution of a case. Doesn't that lend itself to the appearance that the defense bar already has: if you're wealthy you can afford to buy justice, or different standards of justice if you have money. The commissioners court can accept donations from a private citizen but I don't know of any mechanism that would allow a direct payment to be made. I suppose that the victim could make the payment directly to the expert without going through the county and "lend" the expert to the prosecution. Again, this idea makes me very uncomfortable even if it isn't illegal.
 
Posts: 283 | Location: Montague, Texas, USA | Registered: January 26, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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