STORY: "Elkhart woman suing police detective who lied at her trial," by reporter Virginia Black, published by The Grand Bend Tribune on September 25, 2016.
SUB-HEADING: "Elkhart woman served eight years in prison on errant fingerprint testimony."
GIST: A panel of federal judges will decide whether an Elkhart woman can continue her lawsuit against a police officer who lied on the stand and caused her to serve eight years in prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Elkhart County police Detective Dennis Chapman lied about his ability to identify a fingerprint at a murder scene, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Friday about whether he has immunity based on his police position. Lana Canen was 53 when she was released from prison in 2012, having served eight years behind bars before an Elkhart County judge determined she was wrongfully convicted. Chapman admitted he lied about his ability to identify a partial fingerprint left at the home of the 94-year-old blind woman Canen was convicted of killing on Thanksgiving Day, 2002. She was arrested in 2004 and convicted in August 2005. Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Rudy Lozano dismissed the federal civil rights action, determining that Chapman carried immunity in his actions as an Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department employee. But Canen’s attorney, Michael Sutherlin, of Indianapolis, appealed Lozano’s decision to the 7th Circuit. Attorneys for both sides made their arguments Friday in Chicago, and it normally takes months for a ruling. Canen, who protested her innocence to police, and a man who confessed to the murder but whose story changed several times over the course of the investigation, were each sentenced to 55 years in prison for the murder of Helen Sailor in the Waterfall Highrise Apartments in Elkhart. Sailor was found strangled and with peanut oil and cranberry juice poured over her body. The only physical evidence against Canen was a partial pinkie print found on a plastic container that held Sailor’s medications. A city police detective sent the “latent” prints found in her apartment to Chapman, because he believed Chapman was an expert in that type of print and the Indiana State Police lab would have taken longer. But it was revealed later that Chapman was trained in comparing inked fingerprints rolled onto cards. Latent prints, those found at crime scenes, are more complicated to match because they are more likely to be only partial, to be contaminated or to be smudged. Canen’s appeal upheld her conviction, but another attorney took up her case and filed for post-conviction release. That attorney hired a fingerprint expert who determined Canen was not the source of the print after all. Chapman conceded then that he lied about his expertise at trial. At the post-conviction relief hearing, according to court documents, a prosecutor questioned Chapman about the testimony that convicted Canen. “At any point, Detective Chapman, when you were asked to look at this latent of Ms. Canen, did you ever consider saying, ‘You know what, maybe I shouldn’t?’ “ “Yes,” he said. “Well, did you bring that to someone’s attention?” “No.” “Why not?” “Well, I was trying to help out Elkhart City.”
The entire story can be found at:
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.