More than 100 call public defender hotline for help

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-08 18:54:51-05

Albert Brown's case, captured on Detective Daniel Hersl’s body worn camera was just one of the first cases to be dropped in relation to the indicted seven, but it will by far not be the last.

Wednesday, the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office announced seven more cases developed by one or more of the indicted officers has been dismissed, but even that may be the tip of this spear.

In the next two months alone, court records show nearly 40 of the officers' cases are either scheduled for a trial or a hearing.

While it is unclear what the specific criteria is in order for the state's attorney to dismiss one of these cases, it is not just the future court dates at issue.

RELATED: Hotline for individuals with cases involving indicted Baltimore police officers

The office of the public defender is focused on past cases as well.

"All of the cases that they were involved in are now going to have to be looked at again and identifying those cases if going to be a challenge in and of itself, so we are asking for people to contact us is they have one of those cases," said Melissa Rothstein, Director of Policy and Development with the Office of the Public Defender.

To that end, the office has set up a hotline for those convicted or fighting cases developed by the officers.

In just one day, Rothstein says she has fielded more than 100 calls.

It will be a challenge to identify all the cases the office says, but allowing past convictions to stand would be an injustice.

"There are thousands of cases that each of these officers were involved in. There are a tremendous number that will need to be reviewed," Rothstein said.

And that includes those cases handled by private attorneys; one defense attorney telling us today to expect a wave of motions re-opening old convictions and plea deals citing not just these officers' conduct, but what the state's attorney's office knew and when it knew it.

Still, the tentacles of this scandal reach even further.

While the Baltimore Police Department announced 46 officers will move from plain clothes units back to patrol, an organizational fallout from the indictments, the mayor is  continuing to push an audit of the entire department with a focus on overtime waste.

"We sent some police officer back to patrol which is very much needed as you well know. We are, I think I announced last week that we are doing an audit, we moved the police department's audit up, but you know we gotta get a handle on this overtime. $1.6 million every other week is just not tolerable," Mayor Catherine Pugh said.

Office of the Public Defender hotline: 410-914-7858
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