Since prints on judgments are often smeared, etc. and unreadable....Are there any alternatives you are using to that seem to work better? We are a small jurisdiction and looking for an efficient method, other than prints alone, if one exists.
The easiest thing to use are the booking records. They usually have their own fingerprint cards and photos from the prior arrest. If your judgment has things like TRN numbers, SID numbers, case numbers and such, link those to the booking records. Also, if defendant was on probation, most probation departments take a photo of the defendant when they do intake on the case.
I'm in a small county too and have been a prosecutor here for 28 years. I can usually identify a defendant that was convicted in court (as well as his father, grand father, etc.), especially after reviewing the file so look for someone that was around when the defendant was sentenced.
We recently had to prove up a Colorado sex offender conviction in a Fail to register case and we had to use a combination of arrest records, Colorado Driving records, booking records, and the judgment of conviction to link him up.
For a time while I was in a prior county, we would have our investigator take a digital picture of the Defendant on the date of the plea. The picture would go on the back page of the Judgment along with the thumbprint.
It really helped prove up a prior on a couple of occasions when the thumbprint was bad.
I suppose you could also use the book in photo as well-assuming the Defendant was arrested in your county.
After I re-read your post, I think you were asking about what to do in the future on your judgments. We are looking at including a digital photo along with the fingerprint. Camera technology is cheap and if you are using any kind of software to generate your forms, it is simple to include. If you are doing them by hand, I'm not sure.
Thanks, I thought I read that some counties were using a digital photo somehow included on, or attached to, the judgment....Having been here 20 years, I know most defendants and can testify at the felony trials if needed.....
I was assuming in this digital age, there would be a better mousetrap!
TDC used to include their photo in pen packets. I used that to prove up old priors.
We now include TRN numbers and SID numbers on all of our misdemeanor judgments. I have had investigators testify that SID numbers are unique identifiers and have them testify that the defendant's SID number matches the SID number on the judgment.
Or if I have a "good" print on one judgment (say, a conviction with an MTR)and the MTR alleges the defendant committed a new offense in a new county, (1) I get the MTR entered into evidence with the print, (2) then I enter the judgment from the offense described in the MTR.
Tarrant County sometimes includes a Complaint along with their misdemeanor judgments. If you look closely, there are dates of birth and sometimes DL numbers that can help authenticate a judgment. I've even found local PID numbers from one judgment to the next. Those can be useful.
I guess the bottom line is, start with your "good" judgment and get it entered. Then try to piggyback your other judgments in via other identifying information.
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