by Staff Writer on 18/04/12 at 10:10 pm
A number of our readers have contacted us regarding access to the source material we used for our upcoming series on the Harris County District Attorney’s office, “Corruption on Steroids”. After some discussion, we decided that the best way to handle the majority of the requests was to post a number of examples of our research methodology and field any other specific questions. Our readers that still need access to the entire volume of our source material can still make an appointment to come by the office.
Base Research Example:
The subject of our first example is Sean Tyrone Johnson. We first received a tip about these records from a contact that we developed over a couple of years. Since the County records are indexed under SPN numbers and the State records are indexed under SID numbers, the first thing we did was pull all the records referenced by those numbers. This is a subset of those records that can give you a good idea of how we start the process. Here’s an example of the research summary sheet. You’ll need to reference the summary sheet as we walk through the records. Finally, you might want to print out a copy of Mr. Johnson’s criminal history to reference as well.
If you look at the upper right corner of the summary sheet, you’ll notice a field called “Fraud Flags”. Different than simply clerical errors, “Fraud Flags” are an indicator of the number of items in the subject record that may have been criminally tampered with when weighted against other evidence in the record, conflicts with DPS records, conflicting or impossible date information and compliance with Chapter 60 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which mandates particular actions on the part of the arresting agent, prosecutor and court.
The next section lists the different names that are associated with the subject’s SPN. These are not simply aliases, but a deliberate obfuscation of an individual. You only need to look at the first two entries where the first is a young black man and the second a white male five years his senior. More on this later.
The next section lists the complaining witnesses. An enormous effort is made to track down each witness and verify with them “real time” if they were, in fact, a complainant in the particular criminal matter.
The next section images every signature specimen from the subject in the record so that they can be compared. The same holds true for the final section which images every judicial signature in the subject records for comparison.
This particular subject record is interesting for the dates of arrest and conviction. It would have been impossible for many of the arrests to have occurred as Mr. Johnson was still in jail from the previous arrests. If you calendar plot each of the offenses from arrest to conviction, only about three of arrests could have actually occurred.
We’ll get back to Mr. Johnson after we’ve had a chance to analyze a few more subject records. Make sure you check back over the next couple of days. We’ll be posting a couple of subject records which involved pushing deliberately falsified records up to DPS and NCIC under Rachel Palmer’s direction.
Research Outside the Record:
Samuel M. Skipper is the subject of this example. Mr. Skipper apparently leads a charmed life in that he has managed to chalk up at least 4 DWI’s while at the same time somehow managing to have the First Court of Appeals enter final disposition findings of “non-adjudication of guilt” on at least 6 other charges.
One of the main issues researchers of these kinds of constructed and fraudulent records has do deal with is the very absence of the records themselves. This obviously comes at no great surprise as covering the trail of criminal tampering would be pretty important for the folks committing those crimes. That requires the researcher to go outside of the records to public databases that buy their data from the Texas CJIS system through Austin. It is EmPac Texas policy that data collected from public databases must be verified from another independent source before being cited in articles appearing on our site.
Let’s start out with what we can find in the record, Skipper’s latest charge of Impersonating a Public Servant - a Texas Ranger to be more exact. On first examination of the county records we notice that there is no information ever filed in this matter and the indictment was filed on July 14th, 2011. We also took note that the file date stamp on the complaint is a hand stamp. Taken by themselves, odd but not significant. Things become interesting when we take a closer look at the indictment. We note that there is no “Book” and “Page” number for us to cross reference. However, the most telling item to note is the signature of the Grand Jury Foreman. What you are seeing is a flipped mirror image of a signature. Thus we conclude that this is a fabricated document created specifically to simulate a legal process, the end result of which was to have the matter dismissed.
The rest of Skipper’s Harris County criminal history is void of documents. It was when we turned to the public databases that we discovered DWI’s which appear to have never been disclosed to the three Harris County courts in which Skipper appeared allowing him to appear as a 1st time offender. This becomes significant once you understand how repeat offenders are identified. After arrest, you are electronically finger-printed on an AFIS system which immediately checks to see if you have ever been arrested before. If you have been, your unique SID number is sent back to the booking staff along with your identifying information. If not, you are assigned a new SID number.
You are left with assuming that the previous arrest information was obscured. Dig a little deeper and you find six (6) very strange final disposition findings of “non-adjudication of guilt” from the First Court of Appeals. There are a great deal more issues at play in Skipper’s records that we detail in our upcoming series about the Harris County DA’s office, “Corruption on Steroids”. For our purposes here, this covers the basics of our public record methodology.
Hunting down tampering with DPS Records:
For this example we’ll be turning to the DPS records, or lack thereof, for one Ruben E. Diaz. While this one actually contains relatively few records, its implications are staggering. But before we move on, we need to understand a bit more about the Texas CJIS system.
In 1989, the Legislature mandated enhancements to the Texas CJIS system. These enhancements included the use of an incident tracking number (“TRN”). The TRN is a unique number assigned to a specific person during a specific arrest and along with the State Identification Number (“SID”) provides for tracking the arrest, custody status, court disposition and sentence resulting from each offense. For our purposes in this example, the SID number is what we’ll be focusing on. It is important to understand that only DPS can assign a SID and SID’s are only assigned to a single identifying set of fingerprints which uniquely identify an individual. Because you only have one set of fingerprints, you can only be assigned one SID. To bring it full circle, if you have a SID, its because DPS has your fingerprints.
Here’s how it works. When you are arrested, you are fingerprinted on AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System). The AFIS system immediately transmits your fingerprints to DPS in Austin where they are checked against every other set of prints on record. If no match is found, a new SID is created for you. If a match is found, your existing SID is retrieved and transmitted back to the booking staff along with your complete criminal history. In either case, the entire process take only a few minutes.
Turning back to our example, let’s look at a few simple documents. Based on the criminal history on page one, we don’t have to look at any other documents to know that Mr. Diaz has been arrested more than once. Thus, we know that he must necessarily have been assigned a SID number. If we look at page two, we can verify that Mr. Diaz was indeed assigned a SID and that indeed, his SID is consistent as he moved from conviction to conviction. In this case, PublicData.com gives us his SID number of 07837256. Remember that PublicData.com acquires their data from DPS. The very fact that Diaz has the same SID for each of his convictions confirms for us that after initially being assigned a SID following his first arrest, when he was printed for each successive arrest, DPS matched the prints to an existing record and sent his existing SID back to the booking officer. So far, so good.
Its when you get to page three that everything falls apart. Page three is a copy of one of Mr. Diaz’s arrest records as it currently exists with DPS. The DPS information tells us that this record is for the arrest and prosecution in cause number 1099487. We can verify on page one that Diaz was convicted in this cause number and from page two that his SID was part of the record when he was sentenced. However, the DPS record on page three does not list a SID. Further, if we read the top of the page we can see that there are also no fingerprints associated with this record.
We already know from what we’ve learned that this is impossible. In fact, according to the various users manuals available in the resource section of our site which include the DA’s intake procedures, the DA’s operating manual and the operating and users guides for the Texas CJIS system, it is impossible to even file charges until an individual is printed and assigned a new SID or matched with an existing SID. In fact, based on the existence of a TRN in the DPS record, we can conclude with a good degree of certainty that someone has criminally tampered with the DPS record we see on page three.
Our conclusion is elevated to an absolute certainty after examining Mr. Diaz’s remaining DPS records and finding that they too no longer have his assigned SID or corresponding fingerprints.
What you are seeing on page three is the result of someone deliberately tampering with the very criminal records that Texas and Federal authorities rely on to keep us safe. By separating the fingerprints from the arrest records, there is no way to verify whether or not an individual has a dangerous criminal history, should be allowed to buy guns, should be required to register as a pedophile instead of teaching or working with children, is known to be criminally violent or is now able to pass any number of background tests required to obtain any number of professional licenses in the State of Texas. In effect, someone has granted Mr. Diaz a free pass.
That this type of alteration is possible and can occur without the knowledge of the convicting court, the arresting agency or even worse, the crime victims themselves, is alarming. The idea that violent criminals, through payment or political favor, can have their records effectively expunged through this type of tampering is disturbing. Given that DPS pushes records up to the FBI’s NCIC system, the implications that this type of criminal behavior has on the the Justice Department’s ability to administer the federal system of criminal justice is alarming.
Given the availability of the audit information which logs every action and keystroke of individuals logged on to the Texas CJIS system, identifying the source of the criminal tampering is an academic task and someone needs to be brought to answer. Because a number of federal agencies such as the US Marshals and Homeland Security rely on these records to secure our boarders and airways, the parties responsible for this tampering should be made to answer under the Patriot Act.