The Virginia State Crime Commission is asking why 750,000 conviction records — including those for 300 murder and 1,300 rape convictions — are missing from the state database used to run background checks for gun purchases, court sentencing and employment, reports the Washington Post. It turns out that conviction records are entered into the database only when they are accompanied by fingerprints. But the Virginia law-enforcement and judicial systems have a spotty record of taking and preserving fingerprints, especially for misdemeanors and other minor crimes.
Reports the WaPo:
The State Crime Commission first found the problem when looking at dispositions of marijuana cases. It discovered that the court system had reported 11 million convictions on all crimes dating to 2000 but that the database contained only 10.2 million convictions. About 90 percent of the 750,000 missing records lacked fingerprints, while about 10 percent were missing because of other errors.
About 35 percent of the missing cases were felonies. But the 65 percent that are misdemeanors can involve drug charges, assaults, drunken driving and family abuse, any one of which could be disqualifying convictions for someone seeking a gun or professional license. Police officials noted that missing fingerprints could also hamper law enforcement investigations when police find latent prints at a crime scene. …
In a report issued Dec. 3, the commission found that about 55,000 unique individual convicted felons are missing from the database. More than 2,500 robbery convictions and 1,500 weapons convictions are missing.
Creating a robust statewide database of criminal convictions and fingerprints would seem to be a basic too of law enforcement. If Governor Ralph Northam is determined to spend much of Virginia’s multiple tax windfalls instead of giving money back to taxpayers, ensuring the integrity of the statewide conviction database would be a worthy priority.There are currently no comments highlighted.