11 more convictions overturned in dirty narc cop's wake

Posted: March 02, 2014

IT WAS A BUSY week for disgraced former Philadelphia narcotics cop Jeffrey Walker.

Yesterday, a Philadelphia judge threw out 11 more convictions stemming from arrests made by Walker, 45, who's been in a federal jail cell since May.

Monday, Walker left that cell and pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence.

The 11 cases were first reopened then dismissed by Common Pleas Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper as part of an agreement between the District Attorney's Office and the Defender Association of Philadelphia.

Now, 85 convictions from Walker's arrests have been overturned. From November through January, 74 cases were tossed out, having been tainted by Walker's involvement.

Attorney Bradley Bridge, of the Defender Association, said his office and city prosecutors are discussing the fate of about 20 more cases in preparation for an April 4 court hearing.

Of the cases overturned yesterday, three defendants are still behind bars while eight had finished their sentences and been freed, Bridge said.

Many of the defendants whose convictions were overturned had pleaded guilty to their charges, so innocent people were not being jailed, said Assistant District Attorney Robin Godfrey, chief of the Post Conviction Relief Act Unit.

"I don't think there's any question of guilt or innocence," she said. "It's not so much claims of innocence. It's a claim of, 'You have a police officer who's been arrested, and under the circumstances it's the right thing to do.' So, it's the right thing to do."

Woods-Skipper denied Bridge's request to overturn 15 more Walker cases, because Walker's involvement in those cases was deemed minimal.

Walker, a 24-year veteran of the city police force and a narcotics cop since 1999, was arrested in a May FBI sting in which he planted drugs on a dealer he had arrested and stole $15,000 from the dealer's Kingsessing house.

His lawyer, Thomas Fitzpatrick, said Monday that Walker will cooperate with federal investigators who are on the hunt for other dirty cops.

"There will be a significant amount of indictments - more than I can count at this time," Fitzpatrick said.

On Twitter: @MensahDean

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