MONROE, N.C. -- The Union County District Attorney's Office says 39 cases have been dismissed due to incomplete investigation information by officers from the Monroe Police Department-- information necessary for the DA's office to prosecute cases.
The Monroe Police Department was notified of the news on Tuesday by Union County District Attorney Trey Robison.
Monroe City Manager John D'Agostino said "the inaction of officers to not complete the necessary paperwork needed for the district attorney to prosecute cases was inexcusable".
In a release to media on Thursday, D'Agostino acknowledged there may have been extenuating circumstances in some cases, and said interim Monroe Police Chief Bryan Gilliard had already implemented changes in both the structure and computer case tracking system that will allow officers to better monitor cases.
"We are going to work very closely with the District Attorney’s Office in a way that will result in a better delivery of justice because that is what Monroe tax-payers deserve,” D’Agostino said, “After speaking with Mr. Robison, it appears this negligence of duties is not a new issue and with a new city manager and new interim police chief, I assured him it will be rectified.”
An internal investigation is underway within the Monroe Police Department to determine which officers are responsible for the dismissed cases. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken, Chief Gilliard promised.
DA Robison says the majority of the cases dismissed involved some type of financial fraud, or were drug related. He also noted that none of the dismissed cases resulted in the release of any suspects from police custody.
The Union County District Attorney's Office released this statement:
All felony charges in North Carolina require a true bill of indictment from the grand jury before the case may be prosecuted. In order for felony cases to be sent to the grand jury for indictment, the charging officer must have turned over a copy of his/her case file to the District Attorney’s Office to be reviewed by an Assistant District Attorney. If that Assistant District Attorney deems that there is probable cause for the defendant to be prosecuted, he/she will draft an indictment and submit it to the grand jury. The grand jury evaluates the indictment and determines whether probable cause exists to prosecute the case in superior court. Without the case file, there can be no true bill of indictment and no felony prosecution.
The Union County District Attorney’s Office recently dismissed a group of cases that were lacking the necessary paperwork to proceed with prosecution.
The cases that were dismissed were indentified during a routine audit of unindicted felony charges. Each of the cases was missing some or all of the paperwork necessary to seek an indictment. No defendant was released from jail as a result of the dismissals. As legal jeopardy has not attached to any of the dismissed cases, the possibility exists that they can be indicted and prosecuted in the future, depending on the case and the circumstances.
“There were no considerations at work here other than the interests of justice and due process of law,” Robison said.