Government attorneys in Cleveland have filed a request to nullify the convictions of 40 people, alleging that they were victims of illegal acts by law enforcement officers.

According to Cuyahoga County officials, three East Cleveland police officers engaged in a lengthy pattern of corruption, targeting specific individuals for arrest and prosecution. The officers admitted during federal criminal conspiracy prosecutions earlier in 2016 that they had used bogus search warrant affidavits and lied to suspects about the existence of informers. Prosecutors say the men used the scheme for personal profit, conducting searches and taking property for their own personal use and profit. The officers were all convicted earlier this year and face prison terms ranging from four to nine years.

Prosecutors say they have little to no confidence that the convictions and plea bargains were based on any concept of due process, or that the investigations were legally conducted. They have evidence that the officers falsified information they provided to the courts to obtain search warrants, including misrepresenting that they had made undercover drug purchases or had reliable informers. Official say the scheme netted more than $25,000 in cash, a motor vehicle and other personal property.

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news for those wrongfully convicted. Attorneys say the city of East Cleveland is near bankruptcy and it’s unlikely that any of the victims will be able to recover damages for false imprisonment.


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