Officer's appeal alleges bias

Judge's refusal of release pending trial is assailed

June 03, 2005|By Matthew Dolan | Matthew Dolan,SUN STAFF

In a court document filled with strong accusations, the lawyer for one of two Baltimore police officers charged with shaking down drug dealers for money said that a judge in the case showed bias against his client.

Defense attorney Edward Smith Jr. alleged that U.S. District Magistrate Judge James K. Bredar erred when he ordered Officer William A. King to remain in custody until his still-unscheduled trial date in federal court.

"There is no indication that the defendant would not appear. ... " Smith wrote in the court papers filed this week. "Pretrial release recommended his release on recognizance in the custody of his mother," he wrote.

Smith argued that the judge appeared to be discriminating against King and his family members, who were available but did not testify at his detention hearing last month.

"The defendant rebutted the presumption of detention by providing the Magistrate with citizens who were willing to testify on his behalf as to both dangerousness and flight," Smith wrote.

Further, he said, Bredar "totally ignored" the presumption of innocence and the "fact that the defendant served his country in time of war while others sat behind a desk." King served in Operation Desert Storm.

King's appeal of his detention is expected to be considered by U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz. The date for that hearing has not been set.

Smith could not be reached for comment yesterday. The U.S. attorney's office said it will not comment on developments in the case.

The issue could be critical for King, who likely faces a long wait for trial. His co-defendant and partner, Antonio L. Murray, also asked to be released before his trial.

Bredar rejected that request as well, but Murray's attorney, Andrew White, said that his client does not plan to appeal the decision.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore man who prosecutors allege served as the eyes and ears for King and Murray's illegal operation was released last week by another magistrate.

Court documents filed in the case say that Antonio Mosby was ordered to refrain from using alcohol or illegal drugs and must obtain a medical evaluation to test for withdrawal symptoms from heroin.

Release conditions set at the May 23 hearing also include Mosby's entering an "inpatient drug treatment program and any necessary residential aftercare as approved in advance by pretrial services."

Ripple effects from the arrest of the two city police officers are evident in other courtrooms in Baltimore. At least 11 criminal cases against adults and three against juveniles have been dropped by prosecutors because of the role played in them by King and Murray.

The city state's attorney's office has confirmed that all of the cases in which the pair participated are being reviewed to decide whether prosecution should go forward or be dropped because of the officers' credibility problems.

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