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United States of America v. David Vance

July 5, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAVID VANCE DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Joan B. Gottschall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The United States of America (the "government") has moved in limine to bar the testimony of Larry M. Dehus, the defense's proposed expert witness. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

I.BACKGROUND

David Vance is charged with committing two armed bank robberies. Vance's attorneys hired Dehus to evaluate certain discovery materials "with respect to crime scene processing procedures, proper evidence handling, sampling and testing procedures, and the degree to which all potential evidence had been evaluated." (United States' Mot. In Limine to Bar Defense Expert Testimony Ex. A, ECF No. 213.) These discovery materials included reports completed by the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police Laboratory, photos and sketches of the crime scene, witness statements, security camera videos, and "other various materials." (Id.) Dehus formed the following opinions about the procedures for evidence collection and analysis followed in the investigation of the bank robberies in which Vance is alleged to have been involved:

A) The crime scenes are processed by two different agencies. This appeared to result in a lack of coordination in the collection and submission of the evidence coming from multiple sources. Based upon the lack of coordination, labeling and continuity, it is not possible to determine if the chain of custody has been compromised for many of the evidence items.

B) Latex Gloves -- This examiner observed numerous problems with respect to the collection, documentation, sampling, and handling of these gloves. These current concerns are as follows:

1. The latex gloves were improperly collected in that as many as ten gloves were placed together in a single package as opposed to being properly packaged separately.

2. The lack of due care in the collection and handling of the glove evidence is evidenced by the discrepancy in the actual number of gloves being submitted. In one exhibit, The Chicago Police Department said there were 12 latex gloves and the Illinois State Police Lab reported that there were 13. In a second exhibit, a discrepancy report states that 9 latex gloves were reported as submitted, but 10 were actually received by the Illinois State Forensic Police Lab.

3. This examiner did not find documentation in either photographs or sketches to show the exact location where each of these gloves were found and collected. Photographs should have been taken of all of the gloves as found and then photographic documentation [sic] to show their collection and preservation.

4. The gloves were submitted with various types of trace evidence materials that were described but never evaluated.

5. The sampling of the gloves for DNA testing was improper. Most of the gloves were sampled using the same swab to sample the interior and exterior of gloves together. The exterior and interior of the gloves should always be sampled separately for obvious reasons.

C) There is no indication that all of the clothing of Tramaine [sic] Gibson had been tested with respect to gunshot evidence or other trace evidence.

D) There is no indication that the clothing of the two security guards had been tested with respect to gunshot evidence or other trace evidence.

E) A bullet was reported to have been recovered from Dorothy Sanders on June 4, 2007, at Advocate Christ Hospital. There was no indication as to the time that it was recovered or the [sic] proper record keeping regarding a chain of evidence. Notations indicate that Det. M.L. Frasier got the bullet from ...


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