To the shock of at least one man who left court free as a result, a Philadelphia judge yesterday reversed 158 narcotics convictions considered tainted by police corruption, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. As part of the reversals, two people will be released from prison and another 60 will have their parole or probation lifted. The convictions were tied to cases worked by seven police officers who allegedly planted evidence, and beat and sometimes robbed suspects. NBC 10 reports yesterday's dismissals—the largest one-day total in the city's history—bring the number of overturned convictions connected to those officers to 569.
Despite the continued conviction reversals—another 40 dismissals are expected in October and hundreds of more cases are still being examined—six of the seven officers were put back on the force after being acquitted during a federal trial in May, the Inquirer reports. The seventh officer was given 3.5 years in prison after pleading guilty to separate corruption charges and testifying against his fellow officers. The city is facing more than 135 civil rights lawsuits in connection to the officers. An assistant district attorney wants to make it clear that just because these convictions are being overturned doesn't mean the defendants are innocent. (Read more police stories.)