Homicide case files found inside DPD detective's home
DETROIT (FOX 2) - There are serious implications after a homicide case files were found inside the home of a former Detroit detective.
He was evicted and is now under investigation. Police have secured the evidence that was found inside the west side home.
Could someone be sitting in prison for a crime they did not commit or is there someone who committed a crime and was never brought to justice.
A former Detroit Homicide Detective is under criminal investigation after a bailiff found case files and evidence inside his home Thursday while during an eviction.
"They say it was a lot of files back there," said neighbor Billy Thomas. "So we hope that's not going to compromise no homicide cases.
But that is the fear.
"This could be potentially really tragic,' said attorney Charles Longstreet II. "Somebody's life could be hanging in the balance because this evidence was sitting and we don't know the nature of the evidence and that makes it a really big issue."
Longstreet is a defense lawyer and a former Wayne County assistant prosecuting attorney.
DPD tells fox 2 the former detective worked in the homicide division from 2003 to 2009 and retired from the police department in 2012.
Neighbors say the detective lived in the home on the 9000 block of Northlawn on Detroit's west side for 25 years. While police have not confirmed it, sources tell fox 2 some of the evidence found here was unsealed.
Longstreet explains why that, if true, has huge implications.
"One, it wasn't presented as evidence in trial which could be a potential issue," he said. "It may have been some exculpatory evidence that was suppressed. It was evidence that wasn't tested. It was evidence that wasn't resented to the prosecutor for warrant consideration."
"If I'm a defense attorney, I'm thinking he did it maliciously," said Steve Dolunt, retired assistant Detroit police chief. "If I'm a prosecutor, I'm saying that evidence wasn't key, because there's a lot of evidence you take that may have no bearing on the case. You show up, you find things and you take everything into evidence just in case."
Steve Dolunt once worked in the homicide division.
"I found detectives in my unit when I had just taken over a squad that didn't put evidence into the computer," he said. "And hidden evidence and I ended up making sure everything got put in properly and that went to the man preceding me, he didn't hold his men accountable."
FOX 2: "Under any circumstances should a detective have case files, evidence at his home?"
"No. And that's not the short answer, that's the answer," Dolunt said. "And that's the kind of thing that could taint a trial."
And that could bring cases this detective worked on into question.
FOX 2 reached out to the innocence clinic at u of m law school they say there’s been a number of cases where they requested case files for people who they believe were convicted of crimes they did not commit and were told those files don't exist.
The Innocence Clinic says this explains why that sometimes happens and they will be watching how this unfolds.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is withholding comment waiting for DPD to finish its criminal investigation.