Four drug cases tied to corrupt East Cleveland cops dropped
Four men convicted in drug cases investigated by corrupt East Cleveland detectives had their charges dropped Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
The men - Jeffrey L. Brown, Khalid Dervic, Richard Hodges and Theotis Miller - withdrew their guilty pleas during a court hearing and Judge John J. Russo vacated their convictions.
"All I can say is, there is a God," said Hodges after his 2012 drug possession conviction was tossed.
Prosecutors have moved to vacate 40 convictions related to investigations by East Cleveland Sgt. Torris Moore and detectives Antonio Malone and Eric Jones, who each pleaded guilty to federal corruption-related crimes in 2015.
The Conviction Integrity Unit of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office reviewed all cases investigated by by Moore, Malone and Jones and identified those that had been tainted by the corrupt cops.
Federal prosecutors said Moore, Malone and Jones filed search warrants with false statements and seized money from suspected drug dealers, then kept all or part of the cash.
U.S. District Judge Sara Lioi in Akron imposed sentences ranging from 46 months to nine years, with the most severe penalty being reserved for Moore, the accused ringleader of the scheme.
Once county prosecutors learned of the scheme, they stopped bringing cases to a grand jury and started to review what other cases Moore, Malone or Jones played a key part in investigating. That search turned up 40 cases. Prosecutors moved this month to dismiss them all.
But to complete the process, lawyers have to track down all 40 of the defendants and get the ones who pleaded guilty to come to court and withdraw their pleas, or to give their lawyers permission to vacate their pleas on their behalf.
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