City prosecutors will no longer call on two detectives accused of perjury to testify in criminal cases, but they will not charge the pair with any crimes, according to letters sent by State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy to police officials.
Jessamy wrote that the credibility of detectives Clarence Grear and Kevin E. Jones has been "irrevocably compromised." But her spokeswoman said prosecutors have completed their investigation and cannot prove perjury charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
The letters, written Feb. 17, were reviewed yesterday by The Sun. Both the Police Department and the state's attorney's office declined to release copies, but a spokeswoman for Jessamy confirmed that Grear and Jones will no longer be asked to take the stand.
"Police officers are professional witnesses, and the state must vouch for their credibility," said Margaret T. Burns, a spokeswoman for the city state's attorney's office.
Police and legal experts said the move threatens the detectives' ability to work as officers. Several cases in which they were involved remain in the court system, and many others have recently been dropped or resulted in not-guilty verdicts.
The detectives, who started on the force together in 1996, remain under internal investigation by the Police Department. Their police powers were revoked Aug. 20, and they have been placed on administrative duties, said officers Troy Harris and Nicole Monroe.
Police officials declined to comment on the investigation or the detectives' future.
Lt. Frederick V. Roussey, the president of the local police union, said he could not comment on a continuing internal investigation. The detectives are being represented by the union, he said.
The Southern District detectives have been accused of illegally searching a car in July and then lying about having a warrant at the time of the search.
Margaret Mead, a criminal defense attorney who represented the alleged victim of the search, said prosecutors have taken a necessary step. "I think they're trying to preserve their own integrity," she said.
Shortly after the car search, prosecutors stopped calling either detective to the stand. The February letter formalizes that stance.
Jessamy became state's attorney in 1995 and has made similar decisions about at least three other police officers, Burns said.
Since Grear was placed under investigation, 62 of the cases in which he was involved have been resolved and closed, according to prosecutors. Of those, at least 51 were dropped and five led to not-guilty verdicts. Sixteen remain open.
Since Jones was placed under investigation, 60 of the cases in which he was involved have been resolved and closed, according to prosecutors. At least 50 were dropped and four led to not guilty verdicts. Seventeen remain open.
The lost cases included the acquittal in November of Antonio Hall, who was accused of attempted murder. Prosecutors said they were missing the "key testimony" of the detectives on the case, and defense attorneys also said the detectives' absence had played into their hands.
Mead questioned whether the two would be able to return to police work, and others agreed. Roussey of the police union called it a potential "career-ender."
Said Jeffrey Ian Ross, a criminologist at the University of Baltimore, "I don't think they could do anything other than non-police work. I would even call into question them being given administrative work."
Sun staff writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.