Civil Suit Alleges Chief Finney Killed Kiwane Carrington

This story is a collaboration between UC-IMC and SmilePolitely.com

A civil suit filed on October 6 raises new questions about who shot Kiwane Carrington on October 9, 2009. The complaint filed on behalf of Jeshaun Manning-Carter and his mother, Laura Manning, alleges that Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney, and not Officer Daniel Norbits, “fired a shot downward into the chest of Kiwane Carrington, killing Carrington.” The suit charges the City of Champaign and Finney with “intentional infliction of emotional distress” on Manning-Carter.

Alfred Ivy, attorney for the plaintiff, stated, “He [Manning-Carter] didn't want to talk about it for a long time; he wasn't comfortable talking about it.”

The allegation that Finney pulled the trigger is a direct contradiction of officers' sworn statements and the findings of the Illinois State Police investigation into the incident. Visit the Kiwane Carrington Timeline site for all the public documents associated with the investigation.

“I'm just an employee [of the plaintiff],” Ivy explained. “I don't tell people what to say. I do ask lots of questions, and [Manning-Carter] was adamant that it didn't happen the way that the report said it did.”

Manning-Carter was the only other person present with Carrington in the backyard of the home at 906 W. Vine St. in Champaign when Chief Finney and Officer Norbits were called to investigate a reported attempted burglary. Manning-Carter was initially charged with Aggravated Resisting a Peace Officer; those charges were dismissed on April 13, 2010.

The civil suit filed by Carrington's family against the City of Champaign has been settled, James D. Montgomery, Jr., attorney for the Carrington family, confirmed this morning.

A detailed ballistics report was not part of the investigation, although the ISP firearms report assigns the fired cartridge to Norbits' gun. “All evidence in the case is currently in the possession of the FBI. C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice and the local Ministerial Alliance have filed complaints with the Department of Justice and are waiting for the results of their investigation,” said Brian Dolinar of CUCPJ.

(Ed. note: if you read the pdf of the complaint, Count II and Count III both charge Chief Finney with intentional infliction of emotional distress. After speaking with Ivy, it's our understanding that Norbits is intended to be the defendant for Count III.)

Article by Joel Gillespie

AttachmentSize
Jeshauncivilsuit.pdf2.66 MB

Finney as shooter

Wow. That would explain a lot.

-karen medina

Not really.

Because then it would raise the question of why Norbits agreed to go along with it.  And why, if Finney knew he was guilty and had lied, he would be the one to call in the FBI to investigate.

Forgetting of course that

Forgetting of course that this was Norbitts personal weapon that he BOUGHT with his own money.

Not saying that the kid is lying necessarily, but...

Just hypothetically, if it turns out that he is...

 

Well...

 

You know that "unity" stuff that we're supposed to be doing in memory of Kiwane Carrington?  Like, how we're supposed to come together and not try to divide this town?  Would you say that this is a good way to do it?  Make up stupid, unsupportable accusations against public officials?

 

Just sayin'.

Um... science?

Norbits' gun was a Glock model 27, .45 ACP caliber.

Finney's gun was a Glock model 21, .40 S&W caliber.

(not my opinion, posted on the ISP Firearms Laboratory Report at chambana.timeline.net)

There might be some element of doubt introduced if they were the same caliber, but the autopsy showed that the bullet that killed Kiwane (may he rest in peace, and may his death not be in vain) could only have been fired by Norbits' weapon.

Regardless of the speculation of gun-swapping or some far-fetched conspiracy theory this case will probably be dismissed based on simple physics.

THAT being said...

I have no doubt this event has been heart-wrenching and emotionally damaging to JeShuan. I'm sure it's been horrific for all those involved; but, the plaintiff's could have picked a much simpler case in order to prove damages than the 'magic bullet' theory.

never

Never trust anything that Finney tells you. He is a manipulative, lying, self-serving, hillbilly scumbag. At least that's my opinion.

and you know what they say about opinions....

Having dealt with Chief Finney on more than one occasion, I find him to be an outstanding officer and really a rather nice guy.

Turning this into a joke

What a crock of crap. Talk about lying, money hungry, greedy people.

The Hostility

It's sad that the actions taken by two police officers has generated the enormous hostility toward the grieving. Let's remember who confesses to grabbing two teenagers by the shirt with a free hand in attempt to drag the children to the ground, while holding a loaded pistol aimed at them with the other. This has been admitted to 3 times by both officers.

The reason Kiwane Carrington is dead is because of what the officers did. Kiwane did not bring the gun that killed him.
Can we now perform the necessary ballistics tests to settle these matters once and for all?

what is sad

is the fact that an entire community is being held hostage by a group of people that don't want to have to take responsibility for what their neglect caused. God forbid Carrington's family say, "you know what, maybe if I had made him go to school, maybe if I stopped making excuses for his bad behavior, maybe if I made him follow rules and laws, maybe if I did what a good parent or guardian is supposed to do Kiwane would not be dead."

 

The "children" you speak of were already at this young age, thugs. Assaults, theft, drug use, truancy and arson were all part of Carrington's rap sheet.

 

Investigators have determined that it was Officer Norbits gun that was fired and tragically hit Carrington.  For the family of Manning-Carter to allow him to go on with this lie will do nothing but further corrode race relations in this community.

Murder is still murder.

None of those amounts to murder and the justification of it. Point blank. Not only that, but bad parenting doesn't load bullets into chambers that fire off "magically" killing a 15 year-old child. Have a heart. You fucking scumbag.

Still Grieving

It's amazing Officer Dan Norbits has not had
his arbitration hearing to protest his
30-day suspension given nearly 2 years ago.
What is the hold up?

The City is not pursuing the

The City is not pursuing the discipline.

To Anon 4:52, You say, "the

To Anon 4:52,
You say, "the autopsy showed that the bullet that killed Kiwane could only have been fired by Norbits' weapon."

Where do you get that information? Reading Dr. Scott Denton's report and the ISP firearms report do not indicate any proof that the bullet was from Norbits' gun. Could you tell us where you got your information?

Got in a hurry...

From 4:52...

Well this is embarrassing. I got in a hurry to make a point and didn't re-read the autopsy report.

It does not state what caliber the bullet was and I should not have jumped to that conclusion based on what I 'thought' I read.

I apologize for doing that. It was, however, out of ignorance and not an intention to mislead.

What I SHOULD have said was that the crime scene technician reported a single Speer .45 ACP fired shell casing was recovered at the scene.

Chief Finney's handgun is a .40 caliber and is physically incapable of firing a .45 ACP cartridge.

I'm no lawyer (that should be painfully obvious) but it would be difficult to prove that the chief fired the fatal shot.

But... is that even necessary to prove in a civil suit?

Unbelievable...

For 12 months many people have been vilifying Dan Norbits, accepting as truth that he was the person who fired the gun. Now, immediately after Carrington's family accepts a substantial financial settlement based on those facts, what appear to be some of the same people are ready to, without question, adopt a new and unsubstantiated version of events that flies in the face of both common sense and the evidence they themselves previously relied on.

Sadly, there is a portion of our community who are so desperate to believe in the entrenched villainy of law enforcement that no amount of logic, rational thought, empirical evidence, or common sense will prevent them from adopting a new conspiracy theory that supports their self-serving worldview, regardless even of their own internal inconsistencies. This is not even an act of faith based on trust in a reliable source, it is hypocrisy and it is zealotry.

This suit should be met with derision. It is divisive to the community, and seems likely to be motivated by no more than simple greed.

If you look at the State

If you look at the State Police Evidence Report page marked G162. Exhibit 2 describes a Glock Model 21 .45 Cal. That is the Norbit gun. Exhibit 5 decribes one fire metal jacket bullet. This is the bullet from Carrington. The findings state "Exhibit 5 was fired from Exhibit 2". Or the Glock 21 .45 Cal. (Norbits gun) fired the bullet submitted from Carrington.

How did the State determine that?

I saw the same sentence: "Exhibit 5 was fired from Exhibit 2." How does the lab tech know that? What tests did she perform to justify writing that sentence? Did she photograph it? Did she compare the bullet's scratch marks with the test-fired bullet's scratch marks to determine that this bullet found in Kiwane could only have been shot out of Norbits' pistol? Where did Exhibit 5 come from? Who did Dr. Denton give the bullet to after he removed it from Kiwane's body? How did it get to Springfield? Not suggesting there is hanky panky here, but these basic questions could be answered so as to settle which gun it was to rest. I think it's imperative proper tests be done to settle this matter quickly. FOID cards need to be produced to prove respective ownership would be helpful. This kind of evidence would be helpful toward giving the community better assurance about the "evidence" of one-line sentences written by a lab tech. 

What?

Since Carrington's family and the city just settled, are they upset that Manning is only now coming forward claiming to have had conflicting evidence of value to each side in deciding how to handle their cases?

He never brought any of these claims up in his own case (disturbingly, also represented by Ivy), or in any public forum, no matter how sympathetic, in over a year...

Didn't Manning feel some duty to let the 'true facts' of his friend's death (which he felt so keenly and for which he felt such responsibility, according to his suit) be known to Carrington's family, the city, or society when it could have affected the criminal or civil suits?

He apparently did not. And if he did not, doesn't that speak loudly of his character, and of the nature of his claims here?

Shame on this lawsuit and on the people bringing it. If the claims are false, they are awful, and, if true, they are even worse.

The only people Ivy and Manning's timing seems to serve is Ivy and Manning. Have some respect for Mr. Carrington and his family.

Accountability

In at least one way, it doesn't matter a bit whether it was Finney or Norbits. If instead of killing a 15-year old kid that afternoon, they happened to be a couple of young punks who impulsively decided to hold up a liquor store that afternoon to get money to get out of state. One of their guns 'goes off ' and killed someone -- rather like the News-Gazette has repeatedly insisted on   implausibly attributing to Norbits's gun, as if it had a mind of its own.

Well, Julia Reitz wouldn't waste any time, and both would be charged with robbery and murder in various ways, regardless of the physical evidence of who pulled the trigger. She'd claim that under Illinois law, both are equally accountable for any crime the other committed during the commission of the hold-up.

And if Norbits committed a crime that day, there is certainly a question that requires any honorable prosecutor to permit a jury to decide whether Finney should also be accountable for Norbits's actions.

But we already know that isn't going to happen. As a consequence of of Reitz's exercise of her prosecutotial discretion about Norbits in refusing to permit a jury to decide the facts about his actions that day, she at the same time relieved Finney from any fear of accountability - regardless of the facts.

All this is nevermind what evidence was -- or was not -- collected that day. All the public knows is that it's an open question. Whoever made the decision to just take everyone's word on what happened that day and what evidence needed to be collected that day didn't do the chief -- no, not that mascot thin! -- any favors. Or maybe they did?

What if there were TWO shots? One from each gun? Does the evidence rule that out? Maybe it does. Doesn't matter under Illinois law if Norbits committed a crime.

Sloppy, sloppy stuff when it comes to investigations like this locally. Some kid gets caught with drugs and they got it all on video and audio these days. Guess all the good investigators were out doing more important stuff that day.

BTW, I know someone will drive-by and snipe at my elocution of Illinois law and probably several other things. That's missing the point. Black people get killed and there seems to be little of consequence come of it to change that. All the trite excuses in the world don't help that at all. I am uninterested in such rationalizations as "It's the kid's fault." It seems more like there are no adults around and someone let the bullies be hall monitors.

And another thing....

Where are the police reports from Officer Yiandell and Officer Yonka? Both were heavily involved in the events of Oct. 9 and it's curious they don't have police reports on file. Where's the Residential Burglary report against the other youth? Why wasn't that published?

Hope this helps to understand part of your concerns.

I saw the same sentence: "Exhibit 5 was fired from Exhibit 2." How does the lab tech know that? THE REPORT IS FOR INVESTIGATION PURPOSES. THEY NEED THE RESULTS, NOT THE PROCESS. THE PROCESS WOULD/COULD BE CHALLENGED IN COURT BY THE LAB TECH TESTIMONY.

What tests did she perform to justify writing that sentence? Did she photograph it? Did she compare the bullet's scratch marks with the test-fired bullet's scratch marks to determine that this bullet found in Kiwane could only have been shot out of Norbits' pistol? AS ABOVE ALL OF THIS WOULD BE BROUGHT FORTH IF CHALLENGED IN COURT. THE TECH WOULD HAVE PERFORMED ALL OF THESE TESTS AND PROCEDURES TO CONCLUDE THE RESULTS REPORT.

Where did Exhibit 5 come from? Who did Dr. Denton give the bullet to after he removed it from Kiwane's body? How did it get to Springfield? Not suggesting there is hanky panky here, but these basic questions could be answered so as to settle which gun it was to rest. THE PATHOLOGIST WOULD REMOVE IT, GIVE IT TO THE ATTENDING EVIDENCE TECH (STATE POLICE EVIDENCE TECH) WHO WOULD PACKAGE IT AND DELIVER IT TO THE CRIME LAB. THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY WOULD BE DOCUMENTED BY VARIOUS PEOPLE SIGN RECEIPTS. AGAIN, THE INVESTIGATION OFFICERS WOULD NOT NEED THIS INFO. IT WOULD BE BROUGHT OUT IF CHALLENGED IN COURT.

I think it's imperative proper tests be done to settle this matter quickly. THEY WERE. FOID cards need to be produced to prove respective ownership would be helpful. IN ILLINOIS, FOID REGISTERS PEOPLE NOT GUNS. THAT IS ANOTHER PROCESS.

 This kind of evidence would be helpful toward giving the community better assurance about the "evidence" of one-line sentences written by a lab tech. ACTUALLY, THE LARGER COMMUNITY ACCEPTS THE LAB RESULTS.

Thanks Anon 3:27p.m.

Thanks for the info on State lab reports. It would seem in light of the importance of this case, lab techs would have included the process they used to determine their findings. Perhaps the "standard procedure" is what you say. It's weird to me that the only way to discover how the state lab techs arrive at their conclusions is by challenging them in court. Maybe the best thing that can come out of this lawsuit is forcing the lab tech to take the stand and settle this matter once and for all. Would the lab tech have photographs of their tests to present in court?

"Standard Procedures" might

"Standard Procedures" might in fact be a better way to say it.  The importance of the case is irrelevant.  The reports you see are meant for law enforcement and not public debate.  I am sure it is possible to FOIA the process used generally on an issue, but I doubt you would get information on a specific case.  Labs have standards that they adhere to and I am sure those standards are available.  Finding are often photographed, but until all aspects of the case is settled the evidence would still be available.  In other words, they should have the unknown standard (Carrington bullet) and the known standard (test bullet from Norbits gun).  If you look at the evidence report you will notice both guns were test fired for known standards. Again, you have to know how to read the report because it is a finding and not a scientific explaination of the process used.

Thanks Anon 8:58pm

Am I reading the report correctly to say that there was no comparison indicated between the test fired bullet from Norbits' gun and the bullet removed from Carrington's chest?

No, Exhibit 2, Norbits gun

No, Exhibit 2, Norbits gun was compared to Exhibit 5, bullet from Carrington.  The reported results indicate that Exhibit 5 came from Exhibit 2.  

Gun shot residue is less likely in modern guns since they tend to be tighter than the older lose wheel guns of the past.  Not impossible, but less likely with positive results.  It is likely that everyone in close proximity of a shot might have metal particles found on their clothing.  The shooter might have a higher concentration but again the more modern the gun the less likely high concentrations would be present.  The blow back effect is less likely on a semi auto than a wheel gun since the pressure is mostly released from the end of the barrel and the pressure left is recycling the next round.  

Speaking of standard procedures...

Is it usually the case that Glock 21 pistols spray a residue of gun powder on the hand and wrist of the shooter, and if so, why didn't investigators test Norbits' shooting hand for such evidence?

So if there was a comparison made...

...the lab tech would have photos of the rifling marks on the bullet removed from Kiwane and the rifling marks on the test fired bullet from Norbits' gun? The chain of custody of the bullet Dr. Denton found would also be revealed in an inquiry brought about by this lawsuit? Denton never identified who he gave the bullet to after he performed the autopsy. It seems like a glaring oversight in addition to his failure to identify the specific caliber of the bullet he found in Kiwane's chest. I hope these issues will be publicized to put this controversy to rest. I am also uncomfortable with the fact Finney's gun is accounted for but what happened to Norbits' gun is unknown until it suddenly appears at the lab in Springfield. Do the taxpayers even have a right to this information? It seems that reports being prepared for law enforcement would also include reports prepared for prosecutors who have to explain the information to juries asked to determine evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. Some say there is no doubt where the bullet came from. And yet these basic questions seem missing in the ISP firearms report. 

There's the Rub

"It seems that reports being prepared for law enforcement would also include reports prepared for prosecutors who have to explain the information to juries asked to determine evidence beyond a reasonable doubt."

Absolutely true. If I had to make a case to a jury, the failure to properly gather all available evidence would be devastating to my argument.

On the other hand, if I never planned to present such a case to a jury from the get-go, then it doesn't really matter how sloppy the investigation was.

And that explains a lot about what happened -- and did NOT happen. Police in Champaign County -- and the persecutors who supposedly represent the public's interests -- know that they simply are not accountable to anyone but their own pecuniary interests under the plantation mentality that governs the (in)justice system in Champaign County.

Seriously. What don't you understand?

They did gather all available evidence.  They didn't put every step in the ballistics report because there is no need to.  That's why they have standardized procedures.  So that they do the same thing every time, and don't have to waste time writing every step in every report.

 

Suppose I said to you "I drove to the store earlier today.".  What you're doing here is the equivalent of saying that I must be lying about my trip to the store because I didn't say "After closing and locking my front door, I walked to my automobile.  Upon arriving at the vehicle, I used my key to unlock the driver's side, front door.  I then bent at the waist and knees, and shifted my weight so that I was able to be seated in the front seat.  I then secured the front door, and connected my seat belt, so that I would be safely strapped in.  Then, I inserted the ignition key into the ignition mechanism.  I turned the key in a clockwise fashion (clockwise while facing toward the mechanism from the driver's right) until it reached the "Start" position.  Once I heard the engine engage, I let go of the key.  I then used my right foot to depress the brake pedal while I carefully shifted the transmittion into "Drive" by depressing the thumb button on the gear shift knob with my right hand, and pulling the shift handle towards the rear of the vehicle approximately six inches.  Once the transmission was properly engaged, I grasped the steering wheel firmly and moved my foot from the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal...".

 

See, there's really no need to go into all that, because you just assume I do all that stuff.  And there's no need for the ballistics investigator to go into everything he does in every single report, because he does the same thing every time.  The only reason he would go into all that detail would be if something weird happened, like if the bullet was too deformed to do any tests on or something like that.  If there really are any questions, he's always there to ask about it.

 

"On the other hand, if I never planned to present such a case to a jury from the get-go, then it doesn't really matter how sloppy the investigation was. "

 

Considering that pretty much every ballistics report from this lab would look more or less like this one, are you suggesting that they NEVER plan to present cases to juries?

 

This is really stupid.  You need to give it up.

We Understand

When confronted with evidence, some people simply can't process that the police can act with arbitrary, capricious, cruel, petty, inhumane, reckless, violent, and unlawful behavior. It's a reality that those spoonfed on the pablum of "law and order" are unable to to cognitively process information that contradicts their worldview.

Careful with those adjectives!

While I appreciate your attempt to use big words and load your sentences up with adjectives to sound intelligent, as well as your strident tone, you might want to try making a point next time. 

 

What are you talking about when you talk about the police acting in an "arbitrary, capricious, cruel, petty, inhumane, reckless, violent, and unlawful" way?  You mean the fact that they shot a kid?  I really don't think anyone ever disputed that, did they (although THAT would be a fun conspiracy theory for you to run with!  Why not go around telling people that Kiwane is not really dead at all?  That he just got shot with a tranquilizer dart, and was then spirited away to an underground base of some sort, where they are performing sinister medical experiments on him!  Granted, there's no evidence for that, and it's really a pretty stupid story.  But just think of all the pointless outrage you could spread with a story like that!)?

 

Or do you mean the idea that the state police are engaged in some sort of conspiracy to hide the truth?  Well, honestly, I don't think that's evidence that they can act in an "arbitrary, capricious, cruel, petty, inhumane, reckless, violent, and unlawful" manner.  I think it would be evidence that they enjoy wasting their own time and everyone else's.

 

Because, really.  If your idea is that the authorities never had any plans to do anything about the shooting, and everyone KNEW that all along, then why even bother lying?  Why not just admit Finney shot him, if he really did, and there was no chance of him getting in trouble for it?  That way, they wouldn't have to worry about later investigations revealing their lie, or Norbits recanting his confession, or anything. 

Conspiracy!

This entire thing is ridiculous.

What I seriously understand

I understand your point, Anon 5:35 pm, the state forensic lab did the tests, they just didn't publish them. I am not saying they are lying for not publishing the specific tests to determine their findings. I'm saying it would be helpful for the rest of us not initiated in the field of ballistic investigations to see what the tests were. These tests would clear up the conspiracies, not create them. It's hard to believe the surviving youth's story is true, so let's disprove it with conclusive evidence. I'm sorry, but the book about the Whitlock case in Paris, IL leaves distrust about state police investigations. It would be better the tests performed in the Carrington case were public to put out the fires of the public imagination, Don't you agree?

Well...

YOU may not be saying that the fact the investigators didn't publish all the results is an indiction that they're lying or that a conspiracy is afoot, but others clearly are.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt anything to publish all the findings, but honestly.  I think about two-thirds of the people in this town already believe the ISP report.  Another 20% couldn't care less, and isn't even paying attention.  Ten percent or so simply hate the police, and wouldn't believe them no matter what they say.  If they had a video of Norbits shooting Kiwane, they'd still find a way to say he didn't.  That's the nature of the conpiratorial mind.  So that leaves about 3% of the population of this town who has honest questions about this case, that might actually be answered.  So let's not pretend that it's going to be that big of a deal either.

I agree with Anon 11:18pm

Until the ballistics tests are published, the youth's story about Finney is still in play.

What do you mean, exactly?

Do you mean "still in play" meaning that Jeshaun's story is theoretically possible?  Well, I suppose so.  But there's nothing the state police or anyone could do that would remove that possibility.  For example, they could release all the results.  Even if the bullet WAS shown to have come from Norbits's gun, how would anyone ever prove that that's the same bullet that was taken out of Kiwane?  The investigator could easily have just shot a cow or something with Norbits's gun, and then taken it out, and used some simple sleight of hand to replace the real bullet with it.  How would anyone ever know?

If you mean "still in play" with a sense of reasonable doubt, then it already isn't.  Kid's lying.  Move on.

3 Same BS Comments, Take Your Own Advice, Please

Move on.

Whether you care or not, the IMC is here for the marginalized. It's not about popularity of opinion, it about giving voice to those you blithely dismiss as inconsequential and irrelevant.

Now that you've summed up your point -- and made mine that you're only here to repeat again the familiar refrain, "Nothing to see here, move along" -- it's time to take your own advice. Move on.

 

Ballistics by majority vote

It's probably true that most of the county believes what the lab tech typed up. If the tests were published, however, it sure would toss Alfred Ivy's lawsuit out of court a lot faster.
Unfortunately, the way the bullet from Kiwane's chest was mishandled does seem to leave room for doubt, as Anon 12:29 pm points out. I'm surprised the state investigators allowed such sloppiness from Champaign County Forensic Pathologist Scott Denton.

No.

"It's probably true that most of the county believes what the lab tech typed up. If the tests were published, however, it sure would toss Alfred Ivy's lawsuit out of court a lot faster."

 

Well, no.  No it wouldn't.  Public opinion is not in charge of the court and its proceedings.  The judge is.  If they were published in public or not, it wouldn't make any difference.

 

"Unfortunately, the way the bullet from Kiwane's chest was mishandled does seem to leave room for doubt, as Anon 12:29 pm points out."

 

Oh, it was mishandled?  How?  How was it mishandled exactly?  For what it's worth, I AM Anon 12:29, and my point was that, if you truly don't want to believe something, you'll always be able to find a loophole, no matter how pathetic it is.

 

"I'm surprised the state investigators allowed such sloppiness from Champaign County Forensic Pathologist Scott Denton. "

 

What sloppiness?  Tell us, please.

Sloppy Work and Injustice

Even assuming the sloppy work didn't miss anything that might implicate Finney and Norbits in something different than described in the conclusions of the official reports, it's a revelation that such sloppy work is regularly used to convict so many people. It's a nod and a wink in the courtroom, "everyone knows who did what, we just need to convict this guy now" when they trot out similarly sloppy work to convict someone.

Like many of our local problems, this sort of problem is part of a bigger problem of sloppy, errorneous, or even criminally bad work on the part of crime labs and technicians. Here's what happened when one state lab was subjected to an outside audit:

http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Historic_Audit_of_Virginia_Crime_Lab_Errors_in_Earl_Washington_Jrs_Capital_Case.php

Crime labs in New York, North Carolina, Michigan, Washington State, and numerous other places. Illinois stands out because there were crime lab errors or omssions in the mass of exonerations that closed Death Row (sadly only temporarily so far) here. Even a crook like George Ryan knew that Illinois has bigger problems with our justice system than it's seeming incapacity to halt crime among politicians.

Just last year, the National Academy of Sciences noted in a report that crime labs were rife with problems and issues that needed systemic solutions that hewed closer to actual science. Contrary to what TV shows portray, there is relatively little scientific support for much that is commonly accepted -- and known to be problematic -- as evidence in court. So far, we got nothing different yet.

You can believe in the police, crime labs, the courts, and the tooth fairy if you want.

Lots of people have very good reason to doubt what is so frequently blindly accepted. We accept that some people are Betty White credulous about some of the ways in which our society operates. You should try to be more accepting that others don't share your tunnel vision on the topic. There are serious questions at play here. And the "facts" such as they are often raise more questions than they resolve.

Public Sees Only Tip of the Iceberg in Crime Lab Corruption

 

There were some adjustments made to the law governing the state crime labs after fraudulent testing was revealed to be at the root of many of the capital convictions thrown out in Illinois in recent years. The Trib gave it extensive coverage. Whether there were any fundamental changes in parctice is much harder to discern.

Events like the Carrington killing only turn the spotlight on the festering distrust that citizens who believe in equal justice under the law feel about such gaping holes in the "official story."

As a reminder that concerns about crime lab work are long-standing, well-justified, and of real concern is this revealing finding in the Trib's report from a few years back:

Part IV:  When Labs Falter, Defendants Pay: Bias toward prosecution cited in Illinois cases

    The Tribune reports that in Illinois, the paychecks of crime analysts come from a police agency, and state law mandates they serve the prosecution, calling on the lab system to provide forensic science to "local law enforcement agencies and local state’s attorneys."  The perception of crime-lab bias is further reinforced by the fact that of the roughly 260 accredited U.S. forensic labs, 90 percent are affiliated with law-enforcement agencies, according to the American Society of the Crime Laboratory Directors’ Laboratory Accreditation Board.

    Cook County Illinois Circuit Judge Daniel Locallo cautioned that "people who are working at the state crime lab should not take the position that ‘we are an arm of the prosecution.'"  Judge Locallo said, "They’re scientists.  They should be an arm of the truth."  However, Don Plautz, who spent 24 years in the Illinois crime lab system as a supervisor and director said that many forensic scientists at the state police labs saw their role as members of the state’s attorney’s team.  "They thought they were prosecution witnesses," he said.  "They didn’t understand they were just scientists."

     Additionally, The Tribune’s investigation revealed that in crime labs across the country, DNA testing has unraveled convictions built on faulty lab work, and crime analysts have been accused of slanting their test results to help prosecutors win convictions.

Plenty more here:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/dpic-summary-chicago-tribune-series-forensics-under-microscope

One can't help but wonder how much injustice other corrupted evidence has been produced by crime lab techs who feel they are supposed to be on the prosecutor's side when examing what is before them. Most cases do not get the attention that death penalty cases do. There is no reason to believe these other cases are any more reliable than what has already been shown about death penalty cases.

Pardon the Judge and the Boss

"They didn’t understand they were just scientists."

But they're wrong.

Scientists create new knowledge. With few exceptions, most of those who work in crime labs are technicians.

A scientist creates new knowledge.

If you're just analyzing samples using established procedures, you're a technician, not a scientist.

Government at all levels in the US often invokes "science" when they are in fact invoking the 'authority' of science to carry on with policies that are otherwise untenable or are simply what someone among our moneyed classes or politicians want. Crime lab technicians have a long history of mystifying their work by claiming it's science, when it's not.

So judge has obviously been taken in by this subterfuge and the lab director wants to protect what's left of his professional reputation. They're both wrong and the Trib should've called them on this.

If that's going to be your argument...

Then let's just throw out all the lab results altogether, since apparently nobody can be trusted to be honest.

 

What are we left with?  Pretty much just the testimony of the two officers and Jeshaun.

 

One of the officers has dealt with hundreds of belligerent teenagers and apparently managed to avoid shooting any of them.  The other officer admits to a homicide that, according to Jeshaun, he didn't really have anything to do with, thereby opening himself to all kinds of potentially harsh penalties.

Jeshaun is a kid with a fairly extensive criminal record, including resisting arrest and fighting with police officers.  He was possibly breaking into, or at least lurking around, someone else's house when the homeowner was not there.  He claims that the two of them were NOT resisting arrest (even though both have a record of doing so), and the chief just pushed Kiwane over and purposefully shot him in cold blood, basically for no reason.

Tell me.  Do you think that's going to make his case go much better?

It should be obvious, though, that just because some crime labs are sloppy, that doesn't mean that all of them are all the time.  Since people are accusing these investigators of mishandling evidence, they should really point out where, don't you think?

Mishandled evidence

What tests did Illinois State Lab Technician Carolyn Kersting perform to justify writing that sentence "Exhibit 5 [a fired metal jacketed bullet] was fired from Exhiibit #2 [Norbits' gun]"? Did she photograph it? Did she compare the bullet's scratch marks with the test-fired bullet's scratch marks to determine that this bullet found in Kiwane could only have been shot out of Norbits' pistol? Where did Exhibit 5 come from? How do we know Exhibit #5 is the same material Dr. Denton retrieved from Kiwane? Who did Dr. Denton give the bullet to after he removed it from Kiwane's body? How did it get to Springfield? Where is the bullet now?

Maybe "mishandled" is too offensive for some- perhaps undocumented is more accurate. 

Wow.

All this stuff IS documented.  Tell me.  Do you think you were given every scrap of paper produced by every member of the Illinois State Police in all of this?  You weren't.  They weren't presenting a legal case here.  They were just giving you what information you needed to explain why they didn't file legal charges against Norbits and Finney.

 

Even if they WERE presenting a legal case, they wouldn't give you every single evidence receipt that was produced.  Generally, lab results are accepted as evidence in court UNLESS someone challenges them.  Then, if a question comes up, they can be produced if need be.

 

Since, at the time, nobody had produced any reason to question the obvious fact that Norbits shot Kiwane, there was no reason for them to give you all of that stuff.  The fact that they didn't publish all that stuff proves absolutely nothing.

You need to stop.  You are making your side look bad.

Taking sides

Let's review: some have jumped onto this thread, and said, "kid's lying- science rules out his story". I have asked to see the science, and you say "oh it's there, you just can't see it." I acknowledge your faith in the Illinois State Police investigators from District 10. If they said it, it must be true. But let's agree, we've not been shown the evidence that proves the bullet came out of Norbits' gun and his gun only. 

You're right.

We HAVEN'T seen all the findings that show that.  I doubt you've EVER seen all those in any case, unless you've served on a homicide jury at some point.

 

You have, however, seen the sworn statement by the guy who did them that he did them, and that those findings exist.  This is really quite unusual, as I doubt you've ever seen that much evidence in very many cases before.

 

And, of course, you've seen the evidence that it was a .45 shell casing that was found at the site, not a .40.  This information did not come from any lab at all, but could be determined rather easily by anybody.

 

But I digress.  The real point is that people were claiming that, simply because they haven't been shown that evidence, that means that it either doesn't exist, or was done sloppily.  The point is, this is simply not the case.

I saw what?

"You have, however, seen the sworn statement by the guy who did them [ballistic comparison with the unknown standard and known standard] that he did them, and that those findings exist..."

I have? Where is this sworn statement, my reading comprehension is clearly off...

What I seriously don't understand...

...If the police did nothing wrong, why did the City of Champaign pay $470,000 to the Carrington's? Couldn't the City's insurance company have paid for the City's legal expenses to win the case in civil court? Or would the City's legal expenses exceeded a half-million by the time the case would have been heard by a jury?

Denton's lack of info

I can't find in the reports who did Dr. Denton give the bullet to after he removed it from Kiwane's body? How did the bullet get to Springfield? Where has it been stored? Has the bullet been photographed? What was the exact caliber of the bullet?
I don't see this information in his report, which I characterize as sloppy work; but maybe it isn't sloppy work, it's actually more of those "standard procedures" we don't know about.
Still, as Anon 12:18p.m. points out, it wouldn't hurt anything to publish all the findings.

Who he gave the bullet to and

Who he gave the bullet to and how it got to Springfield would be documented by people signing for it.  This is part of the standard procedures, yes.  I believe the bullet is being stored in the FBI crime lab now, but I could be wrong.  How it got to Springfield and where it's been stored now isn't in his report because it hadn't happened yet at the time he was writing it.

I suspect the reason that the exact caliber of the bullet wasn't documented by Denton is because he's a doctor, not a ballistics expert.  He might be able to guess or estimate roughly what caliber a bullet would be just by looking at it, but it would just be a guess.  He might be able to measure it and see, but if it was deformed at all, he wouldn't really have the expertise to figure it out.  You or I could do the same thing as well as he did.  That's why that information isn't in his report.  Also, if he did have a guess, he would probably hesitate to put it in, because he might guess wrong.  Suppose he said it was a .38 when the ballistics expert said that it was really a .40.  That would be confusing to any jury who saw that, because they would wonder why the guy doing the autopsy said one thing, but the ballistics expert said something different.  This was rather famously an issue in the Mumia abu-Jamal trial, when all kinds of consfusion resulted from the medical examiner writing an incorrect guess as to the caliber of the bullet that killed Daniel Faulkner.

The Knowledge of Pathologists

A forensic pathologist would be unable to identify a bullet's caliber? Huh? It would seem forensic pathologists would be trained to identify calibers, especially in cases of multiple shooters using different guns, pathologists would need to know which bullets they are removing. The most important piece of evidence in the case was the bullet found in Kiwane's chest. That Dr. Denton didn't account for what he did with it after he had it in his possession is foolhardy at best. 

Jeez.

"A forensic pathologist would be unable to identify a bullet's caliber?"

 

Well, as I said, they might be able to guess, but no, they really don't have the expertise or tools at their disposal to determine with any certainty in difficult circumstances.  This is why they HAVE ballistics experts.

 

"It would seem forensic pathologists would be trained to identify calibers,"

 

Why would you think that?  Their job is to determine the cause of death.  Now, if a dead kid has a bullet in his heart and nothing else wrong with him, you don't really need to know whether it was a .40 or a .45 to determine what killed him.  I mean, it's not like if it was a .40 and not a .45, that means the diabetes might have gotten him first, you know.

 

"pathologists would need to know which bullets they are removing"

 

They know which bullets they are removing because they are looking right at them.  If there were multiple bullets, they would identify them by saying something like "Bullet A was extracted from the wound 5 cm below the left shoulder blade.  Bullet B was extracted from the wound 2 cm to the right of the fifth vertebra.".  Something like that, anyway. Then they would label them and send them off to the guy who knows what he's doing to determine the caliber.  The guy who went to school for that and spends all his time playing with bullets and guns and stuff like that. 

 

Look.  You all are the ones who are complaining about all the "sloppiness" in police investigations.  Well, you know what would happen if people who aren't experts in bullets started making judgments about them?  That would only INCREASE the sloppiness.  If a medical examiner made a guess about a bullet, and the case didn't turn out the way you wanted to, you'd be right back here saying "Well, how does HE know what kind of bullet it is?  He's just a medical examiner, not a ballistics expert!".

 

Again.  This is why they HAVE ballistics experts. 

 

"That Dr. Denton didn't account for what he did with it after he had it in his possession is foolhardy at best."

 

Oh Jesus.  He DID.  You don't HAVE the document where he signed that he was handing it over to someone else, that's true.  There's a LOT you don't have.

 

Are you looking at the same thing I am?  That little summary he wrote that's about a page and a half long?  You know what else isn't in there?  What procedures he did.  What measurements he made.  What kind of incisions and tools he used so he could get a good look at Kiwane's kidneys and brain.  This is just a little summary of his findings.  Considering everything else that's not in that, who he gave the bullet to is probably the LEAST important piece of information that would go here.

 

Why WOULD you think he would put who he gave the bullet to in what was just a summary of the findings about what killed Kiwane?  Is it just because of the fact that it's NOT there, and you need SOMETHING to hang your paranoia on?

Good Info Anon 3:22

So according to you, Anon 3:22pm, are you saying there exists photos of the rifling comparisons between Norbits' test-fired bullet and the bullet found in Kiwane being stored somewhere? Where? and there's a series of signed receipts by law enforcement personnel handling the bullet since it's recovery during the autopsy? Standard procedures are the state lab technician just holds onto all that stuff somewhere just in case of a later challenge in court, is that right Anon 3:22?

It's weird, don't you think, Dr. Denton doesn't account for what he does immediately with the bullet? Why doesn't he identify who he gave it to, or where he stored it after the autopsy? Who picked it up from his office? Prosecutors would want that info squarely secured to prevent a jury from imagining the bullets were switched out, as Anon 12:29pm suggested earlier.
Maybe those signed receipts would clear this up.

Why do you, Anon 3:22, believe the bullet is currently in the FBI crime lab? I don't see where the Illinois State Police Lab Technician Carolyn Kersting documents what she did with Exhibit #5 other than to say the bullet was to be stored in the laboratory evidence vault until it was to be picked up within 30 days. Maybe there will be more of those signed receipts after the bullet left Springfield?

"So according to you, Anon

"So according to you, Anon 3:22pm, are you saying there exists photos of the rifling comparisons between Norbits' test-fired bullet and the bullet found in Kiwane being stored somewhere?"

 

Obviously, I don't know for certain that there are, but yes, probably.

 

"Where?"

 

Considering that the photographs are likely JPEG files or something like that in this day and age, it's a little hard to say "where" they are.  Probably the FBI has one.  The state lab probably has a copy still.  Maybe they sent one to Julia Rietz.  I don't know where all they might be.

 

"and there's a series of signed receipts by law enforcement personnel handling the bullet since it's recovery during the autopsy?"

 

Probably.  Do you have any reason to suspect differently.

 

"Standard procedures are the state lab technician just holds onto all that stuff somewhere just in case of a later challenge in court, is that right Anon 3:22?"

 

As far as I know, yes.  But I would guess that doesn't apply if the FBI is called in to investigate, as happened here.

 

"It's weird, don't you think, Dr. Denton doesn't account for what he does immediately with the bullet?"

 

Not really, unless you're suggesting that he didn't give it to ANYBODY.

 

"Why doesn't he identify who he gave it to, or where he stored it after the autopsy?"

 

Probably because he didn't think anyone would ask, since all that stuff is documented elsewhere.

 

"Prosecutors would want that info squarely secured to prevent a jury from imagining the bullets were switched out, as Anon 12:29pm suggested earlier."

 

I am Anon 12:29.  And the jury can imagine whatever it wants.  Look.  Let's say that, whoever is holding the gun right after it's recovered goes out and shoots a cow or a dog or whatever with Norbits's gun.  Somehow or other, he then takes this "cow bullet" to Denton and hands it to him.  Denton then brings the bullet to the autopsy.  Takes the bullet out of Kiwane and puts it into his pocket (and later down a storm drain) and then replaces it with the cow bullet.  Voila!  From this point forward, there's no need for any kind of evidence mishandling or even sloppiness.  Just by that one step, everything falls into place along the lines of the conspiracy.  From here on out, nobody even has to lie or be sloppy or fabricate anything.  The chain of custody could be impeccable, and every investigator would be telling the truth as they saw it.  You see?

But then, there's really no reason anyone WOULD believe such a goofball chain of events.  But it's true that it is not entirely impossible to rule such a thing out.  That's why they have the standard of "reasonable doubt" rather than "all shadow of doubt".

 

"Why do you, Anon 3:22, believe the bullet is currently in the FBI crime lab?"

 

Because of Brian's statement from the article "All evidence in the case is currently in the possession of the FBI.".

 

"I don't see where the Illinois State Police Lab Technician Carolyn Kersting documents what she did with Exhibit #5 other than to say the bullet was to be stored in the laboratory evidence vault until it was to be picked up within 30 days."

 

Of course you don't.  The report you're looking at was written and made public before the FBI was even called in.

 

"Maybe there will be more of those signed receipts after the bullet left Springfield?"

 

I would imagine so.

Where's the News-Gazette When You Need Them?

If the News-Gazette were to publish those forensic ballistic tests conducted in Springfield, Ivy would want to pull his lawsuit or wish he'd never filed it.
Ivy would be ruined in reputation and taxpayers would be okay with city attorneys fighting the thing in court- and spending tax dollars doing it. The News-Gazette creates public opinion and it would be healthy to see the ballistic photographs of the compared rifling marks published for complete transparency and a restoration back to sanity.

Don't blame the News-Gazette.

You're probably right, but even if they wanted to publish the detailed lab results, they can't because they don't have them either.

 

I'm glad you brought this up though, because just thinking about that made me realize that they probably aren't going to release any more information until the trial starts.  The only reason they published what they have so far is so the state's attorney could explain why she decided not to press criminal charges.  If they suddenly release more information now, Ivy could argue that they're trying to poison the potential jury pool.

 

Which I think would be a pretty screwy thing to argue at this point, and I honestly don't know enough about how these kinds of civil trials to know if that would even make much of a difference, but really, why would they take the risk?

 

Now, if this case gets thrown out, they might release more after that ruling to explain why they did that.  But it looks like we're probably going to have to wait.

 

Then again, this whole case has gotten so weird by this point, who knows?

Um hello?

The bullets in the forensics report were FIRED by the lab. Every weapon is test-fired to provide a control or baseline for comparison.

From what I've read the bullet that killed Carrington was not traced to a weapon, BUT the bullets from each gun are TWO DIFFERENT CALIBERS.

There was only ONE fired cartridge at the scene. .45 ACP, the same as Norbits' weapon.

The Chief's weapon is a .40 cal S&W and the lab indicated it HAD NOT BEEN FIRED.

As a shooter with 20+ years of experience it would have been nearly impossible to clean all evidence of firing from Finney's gun before it was secured as evidence a short time later.

Let's face it. A .45 ACP Speer 230 projectile killed Kiwane.

Norbits was the only one with a .45 ACP weapon.

Norbits gun was found to have been recently fired.

THE ONLY WAY THIS SCENARIO IS TRUE, is if Norbits gave his gun to Finney, Finney shot it and gave it back to Norbits.

The two weapons won't even fit in each other's holsters.

photo comparisons

Post new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer