For Immediate Release 3/23/2017
***NOTE: The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City acknowledges that all officers implicated in the recent federal investigation and indictments are innocent unless and until proven guilty.***
Today, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City (SAO) announced that it has devoted substantial resources to not only determine the impact of these federal indictments on active and pending proceedings, but also certain closed and adjudicated cases.
“Understanding and recognizing that the credibility of these accused officers has now been directly called into question by the results of a federal investigation, it is incumbent upon us as ministers of justice to do what’s right and pursue ‘justice over convictions,’ while simultaneously prioritizing public safety,” said Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Chief Counsel Antonio Gioia will lead the expedited review of nearly 200 cases involving defendants who were arrested and prosecuted solely based on the witness testimony of the officers now under indictment. He brings more than 30 years of combined legal experience, including 17 years as a prosecutor and 6 years as a public defender. Similar to this undertaking, Chief Gioia oversaw all of the cases impacted by the 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals decision in Unger v. State.
Considering the fact that the federal indictment of the Gun Taskforce Unit alleges that the conspiracy began sometime in 2015, the case review extends back to January 1, 2015 and will include all pending and adjudicated cases where the evidence and testimony provided by one or more of the officers were material to the prosecution of the case and there is no additional independent corroborative evidence. The Office has identified more than 50 active cases and more than 150 closed and adjudicated cases that have been or will likely be impacted by the federal indictment.
The extensive review process consists of (1) reviewing statements of probable cause and offense reports; (2) analyzing or searching for any independent forensic evidence; (3) contacting victims; and/or (4) determining if other independent officers or witnesses exists.
With regard to the active cases, the Office is carefully evaluating the merits of each individual case, identifying alternative ways to prove those cases where there is independent corroborative evidence, and dismissing those cases which rely exclusively on the credibility of these officers. Of the more than 50 active cases that have been identified, nolle prosquei has been entered in more than 30 thus far. Prioritizing cases involving individuals who either are or were incarcerated, nolle prosquei has been entered in 10 of the 13 cases involving incarcerated defendants.
There are approximately 18 active cases that have already been assessed and should be completely resolved by the end of next week.
Recognizing the significant number of defendants whose fate and liberty were at the mercy of the accused officers, the Office has also extended resources to assess certain closed and adjudicated cases prosecuted during the tenure of the alleged conspiracy. The Office has pulled every case these officers were a part of from January 1, 2015 to date. In the review of hundreds of cases from the past two years, the Office has identified 150 closed and adjudicated cases possibly tainted by the on-going federal investigation including approximately 45 defendants who are currently incarcerated.
“Incarcerated defendants are now the #1 priority in our assessment,” continued State’s Attorney Mosby. “This is a matter of public safety and we want to ensure those who legally deserve to be incarcerated serve their sentence and pay their debt to society, but by the same token those individuals who do not deserve to be incarcerated at the hands of these officers are not.”
In assessing each case, we are evaluating the involvement of each accused officer. In cases where the Office cannot identify additional independent corroborative evidence separate and apart from the testimony of the officers, the Office will work with the Office of the Public Defender and/or the defense attorneys on record to file joint motions to vacate these convictions. The SAO will initiate the motions to vacate in cases where there is not a defense attorney on record or the defense attorney on record in unresponsive.
The mere tangential involvement of the accused officers in a defendant’s case does not constitute an immediate means to be released from incarceration nor does it mean that the Office will automatically seek to vacate the conviction.
"We will seek to exonerate anyone who was prosecuted as a result of one or more of those officers whose testimony or involvement is material to the issues in a given case," Chief Gioia said. "In cases where the officers or the evidence they collected were not material, we will seek to defend those convictions or proceed with active prosecutions."
For those who believe they were unfairly prosecuted because of these now federally indicted officers between January 1, 2015 and March 1, 2017, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City urges them to contact their defense attorneys and/or the Office at email@example.com to request review consideration.
“I extend my deepest regrets to not only all of the families disrupted by these officers’ alleged misconduct, but I would like to extend my deepest regrets to those hard-working, dedicated officers who risk their lives every day on the Baltimore Police Department but are marred by the actions of a few,” concluded State’s Attorney Mosby.