Judge drops 119 cases after Florida deputy investigated for planting drugs
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An alarming 119 criminal cases have been dropped after it was revealed that a former Florida deputy was involved in dirty arrest practices that included planting drugs on suspects.
After a lengthy investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, it was revealed that former Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired Sept. 10, was behind a large number of bogus cases, prosecutors in the 14th Judicial Circuit announced Tuesday.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat the charges that have been dropped in the 119 cases range from misdemeanor and criminal traffic offenses to felonies, including possession of methamphetamine and other controlled substances, according to reports.
Starting on Sept. 13, the cases involving Wester were dismissed. On Tuesday alone, 49 cases were thrown out by Jackson County Judge Wayne Mercer.
Derek Blount, an assistant public defender, asked for the sentences of at last 40 defendants to be vacated or set aside pleas. State Attorney Laura Parish instead announced that the charges would be dropped altogether because of the corrupt cop.
Blunt explained to the judge that his clients were not present in the courtroom for fear of their response.
Wester corruption cases came to light after a report by the Tallahassee Democrat surfaced.
Wester was seen on body cam video planting meth in a woman’s pickup truck.
“We’re just pursuing justice,” Blount said, “trying to do everything we can.”