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Host: Scott LaMar
What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, July 2, 2014:
Obtaining the fingerprints of suspected criminals would seem to be one of the basics of police work.
But according to an investigative report by PublicSource, thousands of suspects aren't being fingerprinted in Pennsylvania and it is having real consequences later.
PublicSource reporter Jeffrey Benzing's investigation found that 30,000 suspected criminals whose charges include sex crimes, assaults and murder were not fingerprinted by Pennsylvania police officers in 2013.
As Benzing reports, without a fingerprint, a defendant has no criminal history. That can mean their name doesn't show up when charged with another crime, in a background check when buying a gun or if charged with a sex offense against children -- it doesn't come up when that person is applying for a coaching or teaching position.
How widespread is the problem?
About 13% of suspects weren't fingerprinted statewide last year. But in Luzerne County, more than 42% weren't fingerprinted or almost 38% in Northumberland County.
PublicSource reporter Jeffrey Benzing appears on Wednesday's Smart Talk along with Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed, president of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.
David Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney and President of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association
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