Monday, October 5, 2009

Off-topic: the seriousness of false reports

Off Topic

The following article, out of California, shows one of the main reasons that filing false reports, should should carry a level of seriousness equal to the crime being falsely reported. If the crime is a felony, a false report of that crime should be a felony as well.

In this case, the fact that the person filing the false report is an officer of the law, and that he filed these false reports in the conduct of his official duties, should be enough to make these felony charges, no matter the crime being falsely reported on. It is incumbent that we hold those who are to enforce, or enact laws, to the highest standards, and follow through on the pursuit of charges for those who violate the trust we place in them.

In the following article, a police officer has been charged with falsifying reports.... 6 counts. It is entirely possible she will get probation. Another officer who falsified reports, and was charged with 8 counts, was given probation. Both should have been charged with felonies, certainly more punishment than just losing their jobs.

At this point, every investigation that either officer has ever handled is in question. How many criminals will now be set free due to the lies. And how many innocent people were jailed, due to their criminality?

Officer charged with filing false reports

SANTA ANA – An Orange County Sheriff’s investigator has been criminally charged with filing false police reports that suggested she interviewed victims in several robbery, theft and criminal threats cases – when she had not actually done the work, according to county prosecutors.

Janet Virginia Strong, 52, is charged with six misdemeanor counts of filing a false report as a peace officer.

Strong is the second Sheriff’s Department employee to face charges of filing false police reports in the last year. Jason Christopher Brant, 34, was convicted in December of eight misdemeanor counts of filing false reports for claiming he contacted property crime victims and reporting that they did not wish to cooperate with DNA testing. Brant was sentenced to three years probation and assigned to work for 30 days for the California Department of Transportation, Deputy District Attorney Susan Kang Schroeder said. He is no longer with the Sheriff’s Department.

Strong, who is out on paid leave, joined the Sheriff’s Department in 1988, according to department spokesman Ryan Burris. She had previously been working for the now-defunct Stanton Police Department, he added.

She is accused of lying on six police reports – mostly about her contact with crime victims. In one case, a victim returned her call and left a message but Strong never called back, according to prosecutors. Strong wrote on Sept. 13, 2006, that she had talked to the victim, prosecutors said.

In a June 20, 2007, report, Strong wrote that she had contacted a victim of a petty theft, and that there were no additional “avenues for investigation,’’ prosecutors said. That victim was never contacted, prosecutors said. Strong also wrote in a Feb. 20, 2008, report that a robbery victim hadn’t returned her calls and that she couldn’t conduct a follow-up investigation, prosecutors said. But Strong never contacted the victim, prosecutors said.

The most recent reports were filed in March, when Strong represented she contacted victims in two separate cases, prosecutors said.

All of the six reports – once they were suspected of being falsified – were re-assigned and then completed by other investigators, Burris said.

Strong is scheduled to be arraigned Monday. If convicted, she faces a sentence ranging from probation up to six years in jail, prosecutors said.