State attorney drops 41 cases over officers' issues

8 Jacksonville officers on list 'with known issues'

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Dozens of criminal cases awaiting trial in Duval County have been dropped because the officers involved are on a list being kept by State Attorney Melissa Nelson for having come under question.

Prosecutors call it the Brady Giglio list, named after Supreme Court decisions that deal with evidence prosecutors must tell defense attorneys. News4Jax obtained a list of six Jacksonville officers, one Clay County deputy and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper either disciplined or under investigation.

The Florida Times-Union first published 41 cases that have been dropped this year as court officials pay close attention to which officers are to be called as witnesses.

LIST: Cases dropped by 4th Circuit State Attorney's Office

One of those cases involves Officer Tim James -- the cop accused of beating a teenager handcuffed in the back of his patrol car after the officer claimed the teenager spit on him.

1/11/17 FHP J.C. Burns Agency has not disclosed
2/16/17 JSO B.E. Turner Arrest for tampering with evidence
2/16/17 JSO L.A. Griffis Arrest for tampering with evidence
2/16/17 JSO K.J. Kvies Arrest for tampering with evidence
4/21/17 JSO T.L. Bailey Arrest for aggravated assault
6/10/17 JSO T.L. James Arrest for battery/excessive force
6/22/17    CCSO S.T. Ventura    Off-duty misdemeanor battery

James was charged with misdemeanor battery and has been taken off patrol duties.

James is one of the eight officers whose names are on the state attorney’s list. 

Another is Tommy Bailey, the Jacksonville officer News4Jax recently reported as having pulled a gun on an unarmed man outside Bestbet in Orange Park. Arrests and cases he’s been involved in are now under question.

The  majority of the 41 dropped cases are drug-related, but charges of resisting law enforcement, battery or assault and three gun charges have also been dropped so far this year.

Nelson released a statement about the list her office is keeping.

Our legal obligations are nothing new. The great majority of those who keep our streets safe go above and beyond the call of duty. We have simply implemented a process to ensure that we timely and fully meet disclosure demands placed on our prosecutors, as required by the law.”

Sheriff Mike Williams told News4Jax he endorses Nelson’s efforts to comply with court mandates.

The president of the Fraternal Order of Police said he just got word about this and he needs to talk one-on-one with Nelson before he comments. 

Crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said bad cops have created problems for prosecutors in the past and cases have been dropped in the past. But the number of officers recently under investigation or charged with crimes in recent months could result in criminals going free.

"My concern is, if an officer commit some minor offense -- say he's out of town he gets into a fight -- that sort of tarnishes his career," Smith said. "He may come back and make a big drug arrest which has nothing to do with a bar fight, and a prosecutor is going to look at that and, even though it has nothing to do with the incident, they will question the officer's credibility. And that's what this is really about: the credibility of police officers. Because a police officer without it is not much use on the street."

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