Jamestown Officer Resigns; Accused of Evidence Tampering

7:37 AM, Sep 16, 2012   |    comments
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JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - A long-time Jamestown Police officer resigned Friday amid allegations he was pocketing prescription medicine taken into evidence by the department.

Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley tells 2 On Your Side, the investigation started when an informant told the D.A. the officer, who served as the department's evidence custodian, was attempting to buy Vicodin from him.

A top-ranking Jamestown Police official identified the officer as Detective Eric Corey, a long-time force veteran.

Foley turned his information over to the Jamestown Police, who placed the officer on administrative leave while they conducted their own investigation. That probe led to the allegation that the officer was taking prescription pain medicine from the evidence room for perhaps as long as the past two years.

Foley says the revelation now bring into question the proper handling of any and all evidence under the officer's supervision during that time frame. 

"Any case where evidence was collected and it was placed in that evidence room regardless of this individual's involvement potentially is affected," Foley said.

As a result, his office is sending a letter to the Bar Association in Chautauqua, and potentially Erie and Cattaraugus counties as well informing defense lawyer of the situation. It's not known how many cases could be reopened as a result.

Former Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said the revelation could cause some serious headaches for Foley's office.

"Because of his problem, every defense counsel wants to say, 'Oh, everything is tainted. Everything has got to go. I need either a new trial or I need a plea far below what your guidelines would ordinarily give me,'" Clark said.

Clark added that he believes the revelation will lead only to a few, if any, reversals of a conviction. He added that, to the extent any evidence may have been tainted, the district attorney's office often can secure convictions without the evidence.

Foley said the New York State Police are investigating the case. He says he will review their findings before making a decision on what, if any, criminal charges the officer may face.

WGRZ

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