Baltimore State Attorney Marilyn Mosby is requesting almost 800 convictions be thrown out due to testimony from corrupt police officers.
Mosby wants to wipe out 790 convictions because they were dependent upon testimony from 25 untrustworthy Baltimore police officers. Eight of the 25 officers are former members of the Gun Trace Task Force who were recently convicted of racketeering. The officers received between seven and 25 years of prison time. The crimes included claiming unearned overtime and stealing from citizens.
The number of officers accused of being untrustworthy could rise as the investigation continues, according to the Baltimore Sun. The Maryland Public Defender's Office is not involved in the investigation but says they “would help them in any way that we can."
“It is still very early in the process, and we are hopeful for the swift vacatur of all of the many tainted convictions,” said a spokeswoman for the public defender’s office.
Three of the officers, Detective Robert Hankard, Sgt. Jason Giordano and Sgt. Kenneth Ivery, are still on the force. At least 10 officers have resigned, one has retired and another was fired.
“When you have sworn police officers involved in egregious and long-standing criminal activity such as planting guns and drugs, stealing drugs and money, selling drugs, making illegal arrests, and bringing false charges, our legal and ethical obligation in the pursuit of justice leaves us no other recourse but to ‘right the wrongs’ of unjust convictions associated with corrupt police officers,” Mosby told The Sun in an email.
WBAL reported the city is concerned about the findings because of potential lawsuits. Mayor Jack Young believes the police department should carry the burden.
"When police officers work outside of the scope of their jobs, they should be the ones liable for whatever suit is coming their way,” Young said during an interview with WBAL News Radio. “I don't think that the citizens of Baltimore should be paying for things that officers are doing outside of the scope of their jobs. I don't think we should pay for it.”
A circuit court judge disagreed and ruled the city was liable for the crooked cops.
“The court finds the conduct was of the kind the GTTF officers were employed to perform and occurred during a period not unreasonably disconnected from the authorized period of employment in a locality not unreasonably distant from the authorized area, and actuated at least in part by a purpose to serve the master,” the judge said in court documents. “Consequently, the court finds that the officers were acting within the scope of their employment for BPD at the time of the incident with (William) James, and the city is required to indemnify plaintiff."