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Former detective beats theft charges


Having a police badge does not guarantee that Maryland law enforcement officers will not face the situation where they need to mount a criminal defense. Earlier this month, prosecutors withdrew criminal charges alleging that a Baltimore police detective engaged in fraud by exaggerating his education credentials while seeking a salary raise.

The defendant served 32 years with the Baltimore Police Department and investigated cyber and electronic crimes. The criminal charges first appeared in 2014 and he was indicted in December of 2016. He was accused of submitting a falsified diploma and with theft relating to his salary increase.

The prosecution had to drop the case once an internal police review disclosed that its expert witness in this case knew about the defendant's compelled statement made during the police's administrative review. To prove guilt, the prosecution had to present credible and expert testimony from this witness on organizations that issue numerous degrees based upon inferior education or academic achievement, also known as "diploma mills." This exposure made this criminal case unviable, according to the prosecutor.

The trial judge in this case had ordered the prosecutors to provide a list of recent cases involving this detective's testimony. The defense sought information on whether prosecutors had promoted or made assurances on his qualifications.

His defense attorney argued that criminal prosecutors used his client's testimony as a forensics expert in dozens of criminal cases since these allegations appeared in 2014. He also claimed that prosecutors knew that this detective falsified his credentials or sufficiently trusted him to present his testimony in court. The prosecutor did not present the defendant as an expert witness since his 2016 indictment was issued.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Theft charges dropped against former Baltimore police detective," By Tim Prudente, Aug. 15, 2017

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