CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Davis making changes after man served jail time under brother’s name

Oct 18, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 11:54 am

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office in Farmington is pictured....

The Davis County Sheriff’s Office in Farmington is pictured on Thursday, March 18, 2021. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A few months ago, the Davis County Sheriff’s Office discovered that a man intentionally deceived arresting officers into believing he was his brother.

Adam Burdick spent two and a half months in jail under his brother’s charges. Adam even pleaded guilty to his brother’s charges. 

Police discovered in August that Burdick was not who he said he was. The Davis County Sheriff’s Office then opened an internal and criminal investigation. The investigation aimed to determine how this happened and why it wasn’t discovered sooner.

Now that the investigation is done, the sheriff’s office released a statement about it on Wednesday. The Davis County Jail will make some changes moving forward to make sure this situation doesn’t happen again.

According to the statement, the investigation determined Burdick deceived officers into believing he was his brother on Nov. 14, 2022. That’s when he was booked into jail. 

“Jail personnel followed established protocols; however, those protocols proved to be insufficient in this case,” the statement said.

What changes is Davis implementing?

According to the sheriff’s office statement, a government-issued photo ID, fingerprints and booking photos are used to identify people booked into jail.

One reason Burdick was able to deceive personnel was because he didn’t have an ID card on him at the time of his arrest. He instead provided his brother’s information.

“He knew his brother’s name, date of birth, social security number, he had that information down pat,” Chief Deputy Arnold Butcher said during a video detailing the investigation. 

At the time of Burdick’s booking, jail personnel could have compared booking photos. Butcher said police were familiar with both Adam Burdick and his brother, although not familiar enough to know exactly what they look like.

Butcher said part of the reason they didn’t compare photos is because there was no reason to doubt Burdick’s information. Booking photos are also not always reliable.

“People change, especially in the criminal justice system,” Butcher said. “As people go through these trying times in their lives, a photo that was taken five years ago, or even two years ago, doesn’t look anywhere near the same as what a person might look like today.”

In the future, Butcher said personnel will take extra precautions especially if someone doesn’t have an ID upon arrest. The statement released Wednesday said that could mean looking at databases to match information about social security numbers and dates of birth.

There’s another aspect that let Burdick slip through the cracks. Depending on the circumstances, fingerprints aren’t required when someone is booked into jail.

But, the statement said moving forward, when someone doesn’t have an ID, fingerprints will be required.

What’s going to happen to Burdick?

During a video detailing the investigation, Sheriff Kelly Sparks said that this situation happened in part due to a deficiency in protocols. 

But ultimately, Burdick is responsible for his crime of deceit. 

As a result, Sparks said there are criminal charges filed against Burdick. The charges include three misdemeanors and one felony for providing false identification with the intention to deceive police and for forgery.

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Davis making changes after man served jail time under brother’s name