Texas Prosecutor, September-October 2018

Proving up judgments

We all deal with “frequent flyers”—you know, those individuals who move in and out of the criminal justice system on a regular basis, seemingly for most of their adult lives. Maybe on probation here or parole there, but always back on the streets in a short time, ready to offend again. Much time and money is spent on these miscreants, not to mention the impact they have on their communities.
    One of the tools prosecutors use to keep repeat offenders incarcerated longer is enhancing a sentence with a defendant’s prior convictions. Prosecutors must prove that certified judgments (proof of these prior convictions) belong to the defendant sitting in the courtroom, and fingerprints are a common way—though not the only way—of establishing that link. Oftentimes that