State Attorney reviewing cases involving 3 arrested JSO officers
Potentially dozens of cases could be reviewed over credibility concerns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The arrest of three Jacksonville Sheriff's Office detectives last week has prompted the State Attorney's Office to review dozens of cases in which those officers were involved.
Detectives Kyle Kvies, Lance Griffis and Bryan Turner were arrested and charged with conspiracy and tampering with evidence Thursday after a shooting during an undercover drug deal that ended with one of the officers shooting and killing Jerome Allen, who police said pointed a replica gun at one of the detectives.
The officers' arrests could impact other cases in which they are associated. State Attorney Melissa Nelson's office has started reviewing cases in which the three are listed witnesses in the investigation. The resolutions of those cases could be different because of these arrests.
The State Attorney's Office isn't saying how many cases are now under review, but acknowledged that some are cases where the three officers were involved.
Attorney Gene Nichols, who isn't affiliated with the officers' cases, said this review could have many impacts. He said cases that are pending may be difficult to prosecute at this point.
"If one of the officers is involved and it's potentially a case that they were highly involved, evidence is being used, evidence is being controlled by the officer," Nichols said. "They're not going to be giving depositions. Their lawyers are going to advise them to remain silent because they are under criminal prosecution. It's going to stall potentially several cases."
Cases in which any of the three only played a small part might not see the same impact as others.
"We will evaluate each affected case and make appropriate decisions on how best to proceed. The notices will be filed on the cases and we are still evaluating how many could be impacted," a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office said in a statement.
A spokesman for the State Attorney’s Office did not say how long this review could take.
It isn't just pending cases that could be reviewed by the state attorney or defense attorneys. The officers' arrests could also impact cases that are already closed.
Nichols said getting old cases and convictions overturned could be a difficult task for defense attorneys, but those cases could still be reviewed.
Routinely, officers are called to testify in criminal cases. With these three officers involved in criminal investigations of their own, now that is unlikely to happen.
"These officers are not going to talk," Nichols said. "They are not going to come into depositions in other criminal cases and talk about potential he a credibility issue, potentially the destruction of evidence and what they have initially been charged with."
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said that anytime there is a credibility concern for an officer who is testifying, it can make it difficult. Nichols said these latest arrests don’t necessarily change anything with old sentences because there is no new evidence in those cases.
"I don't anticipate any court turning over any cases that these officers have been involved it just because they have been charged with a crime in less there is some sort of history that somebody can discover," Nichols said. "At this point, there doesn't seem to be any of that."
Nichols said the cases that could be most impacted are those where any of the three are key witnesses or maybe were the ones that handled evidence in the case.
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