Metropolitan Police Department computer glitch omits evidence

WASHINGTON — A problem with the Metropolitan Police Department’s computer system may be causing District prosecutors to provide incomplete case information to defense attorneys. Those omissions of evidence may call into question thousands of convictions.

The Washington Post reports the issue surfaced in court when a testifying D.C. police officer insisted he’d included certain details in his report that were not found in the final version of his police report.

Prosecutors typically give defense attorneys final versions of police reports that are supposed to compile case data from beginning to end — including everything from witness statements to search warrants.

The District’s U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen tells The Washington Post some details left out of final reports have been getting to defense attorneys in other ways. It’s unclear how relevant omitted details may be or whether they impacted the outcomes of cases.

D.C. prosecutors will be reviewing thousands of closed cases dating back to January 2012.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier declined to comment to The Post.

Lanier’s spokeswoman said in a statement that the department’s employees are using printouts of updated reports “to ensure that all information captured in the system is reflected on those hard copies.”

Hours before going public with the police department’s computer matter, Machen announced he’s resigning as the District’s U.S. attorney. Officials tell The Post that Machen’s resignation is not related to the evidence issues.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this story.

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