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San Francisco police officers indicted by federal grand juries

Of six San Francisco police officers charged concerning crimes alleging theft of drugs, money and electronics, four of those officers have pleaded not-guilty.  The officers were indicted by federal grand juries concerning items the police officers supposedly had taken during a 2009 arrest.  The six officers have had their guns taken away from them and been suspended without pay.

Three of the officers face drug conspiracy charges and face prison sentences of 20 years and fines of $1 million.  At least one of the officers was accused of taking marijuana during this arrest and then asking informants to sell the drugs for him.  This officer has been released on $50,000 bond.

Three other officers have been charged with civil-rights violations for supposedly intimidating occupants in a hotel room. Surveillance videos used are said to contradict police testimony and police report information concerning this incident. These three officers face 10 years of imprisonment and fines of $250,000.

It's difficult to know in what manner investigations into drug conspiracies have taken place or what type of evidence or testimony was presented that resulted in an indictment. However, the prosecuting attorneys do have the burden of demonstrating that criminal wrongdoing took place. Even in matters where a conspiracy is alleged, the prosecutors still need to prove that the arrest of each individual was based upon reliable information.

Clearly those arrested face significant jail time and fines if convicted. Especially when the matter is newsworthy, certain prosecuting attorneys may aggressively pursue charges in an attempt to send a message to purported drug offenders. Therefore those charged with federal drug crimes will need to know all of their legal options and seek counsel from attorneys experienced in defending these sorts of matters.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "San Francisco Police Officers Plead Not Guilty," Feb. 28, 2014

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