U.S. Supreme Court Takes up Baltimore Police Corruption Case

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Supreme_Court_Front_DuskCrooked cops in Baltimore were on the minds of the U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday. The court heard arguments in the case of a police officer involved in a kickback scheme.

Samuel Ocasio was convicted in 2011 for playing a role in a scheme where officers would encourage people in accidents to get their cars fixed at a specific Rosedale auto repair shop. The officers collected money from the owners of Majestic Auto Repair Shop for sending them the business.

Such small-time graft may seem below the purview of the highest court in the land. But there’s a constitutional question of whether Ocasio should have been charged with “conspiracy to extort.” In legal terms, a conspiracy means two or more people agree to commit a criminal act. According to Reuters, Ocasio’s lawyers argued that the exchange of money involved in the extortion case doesn’t represent a conspiracy.

The justices won’t offer their final opinion until June, but raised the specter that the charge could be an example of “over-criminalization,” where prosecutors trumped up charges.

No matter how the court rules, Ocasio’s convictions on two other charges will still stand.

Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is the editor of Technical.ly Baltimore and an editor-at-large of Baltimore Fishbowl.

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