Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Carl Staples and Barbara Sloan; Arizona; Tainted arson investigation; A highly disturbing case of two people wrongly charged after both their houses burned down and in each case the Phoenix Fire Department said Sadie, the arson dog, signaled that she detected accelerants. But there's more to the story than that. Much more. (Must Read. HL);

STORY: "Two people wrongly charged because of a dog's testimony,"  published by AOL on February 13, 2015; (Thanks to the Wrongful Convictions Blog for bringing this story to our attention.)

For latest coverage of the Mark Lundy retrial  go to:

GIST: "Imagine being wrongly charged based on the testimony of a dog? That's exactly what Carl Caples and Barbara Sloan of Phoenix, Arizona, said happened to them. They never knew each other but lived about 15 miles apart. They had one thing in common; both their houses burned down and in each case the Phoenix Fire Department said Sadie, the arson dog, signaled that she detected accelerants.........Luckily for these homeowners, the evidence didn't add up. Laboratory tests showed no proof of any accelerants. That didn't seem to matter to the dog handler, Captain Fred Andes. He actually thinks Sadie is more accurate than science. Captain Andes testified, "I believe the dog is far superior to the lab equipment." Then, a strange thing happened. As she prepared for trial, Sloan listened carefully to the fire evidence tape. While Captain Richardson was taping, you can hear the dog handler Captain Andes say, "You gotta put your nose down. At least fake it for me okay?" That's right, the dog handler muttered to his arson dog, "fake it for me." Guerrero asked Sloan, "When you heard on tape the investigator say "fake it" what went through your mind when you saw that?" "It was disgusting!" replied Sloan..........The Arizona Department of Public Safety recommended six felony charges against Captain Richardson and one charge against Captain Andes for false swearing, or lying under oath. The prosecutor, however, declined to charge them. Both men still work for the Phoenix Fire Department but no longer investigate arsons."

The entire post can be found at:


See related Wrongful Convictions Blog post by Phil Locke;  "We’ve posted before about “dog scent lineups.”  See those posts here and  here.  They’ve been called “the worst of the junk sciences.  I can do naught but shake my head.  I thought we had seen the last of it, but this stuff is still going on. In Maricopa County, AZ, not one, but two, people were charged with setting their own houses on fire, based upon bogus dog scent evidence which was solely the result of unethical conduct by the Phoenix Fire Department investigators involved. An independent, professional fire investigator confirmed without question that the fires were NOT arson.  The charges against both were eventually dismissed, but not before one of them spent 16 months in jail."



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