States throughout the nation take drug crimes very seriously. New Jersey is not an exception. Individuals who have gone through the process of being investigated, charged and convicted of a crime understand what an ordeal it can be. A total of 200 of those individuals in New Jersey whose drug convictions were ultimately overturned or cases dropped were recently able to experience another emotion-relief.
The reason behind the drug cases being overturned was the possibility that corruption was behind their initial arrests. After their criminal cases were thrown out, a group of more than 87 individuals who had been convicted of drug crimes filed a civil lawsuit against the city which employed the officers. The lawsuit alleged fraud on the part of the police officers who arrested the individuals.
Recently, that lawsuit was settled with most of those individuals. A total of 87 people agreed to a settlement of $3.5 million.
There were several alleged behaviors on the part of the police officers that were behind the fraud case including:
- Theft of drugs from alleged dealers
- Theft of cash from individuals suspected to be dealers
- The creation of false arrest reports
- Evidence that was faked
- Lies during grand jury proceedings
Several police officers faced criminal repercussions for their roles in the cases.
When someone is facing criminal charges it can feel as though all is lost. As this story illustrates this is not the case. While outcomes such as this one where a civil award is attached are not common, a conviction is not a given.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer, "$3.5M Deal Reached in N.J. Police-Fraud Suits," Darran Simon, Jan. 10, 2013