Bad cops, dropped charges

July 7, 2008
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In Indianapolis, there have been five police officers arrested for breaking the law in recent weeks - three narcotics detectives and two patrol officers. As a result of narcotics detectives’ arrests, some of the cases they’ve worked on are now being dropped by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Some already serving time for convictions based on evidence or testimony from these officers could get out on appeal.

This must be extremely frustrating for those in the prosecutor’s office to have devoted numerous hours and resources to a case, only to have the charges dropped. This can’t be the first time that prosecutors have had to drop charges because of a rogue cop, but to have it happen on this scale would seem to be an anomaly.

Do these kinds of incidents affect the morale in the prosecutor’s office when cases are dropped because of misconduct by the arresting officers? What about the money paid to investigate the charges and prepare for court – how much of an impact will these dropped cases have on the prosecutor’s office’s budget? And how do criminal defense lawyers and public defenders react to this kind of news? Are they delighted to have a new issue to bring up for their clients’ appeals, or are they disheartened about a breakdown in the justice system of which they also play an important part?
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