Scores of drug cases dropped owing to police abuse, complaints

Saying that “officers get emboldened” when the criminal justice system allows false evidence and testimony to be used against persons who are innocent of drug crimes and other criminal charges, a defense attorney in Philadelphia echoed the sentiments of many of his peers last week when he applauded a recent court ruling.

Pursuant to that ruling, a Pennsylvania court threw out drug possession and other drug charges against 41 persons already in custody and awaiting trial owing to what was termed an “aggressive squad” of police officers working in a narcotics unit. That unit was already well known for the zealous and sometimes questionable conduct of its employees, with officers being targeted in federal lawsuits alleging excessive force, theft and fabricated evidence.

One person closely interested in the dismissals called the judge’s decision and what will likely happen in its aftermath “a volcano that’s going to take a long time to stop erupting.” Defense attorneys say that they will petition the court to reopen what might become hundreds of cases of persons already convicted of and doing time for drug crimes, calling into question the testimony of the narcotics officers provided in those cases.

The problem of police abuse and discounted credibility highlighted in the matter is far from being a singular or isolated instance. Sadly, it is capable of repetition and, indeed, does recur often in jurisdictions across the country, including in Georgia.

A proven criminal defense attorney with experience defending persons against both federal and state drug charges can respond to questions and concerns and provide strong representation in any drug crimes matter.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, “Judge tosses out 41 drug cases linked to corrupt police narcotics squad,” Barbara Laker and Menash M. Dean, Dec. 13, 2012