Brothers arrested by disgraced narcotics officer get reduced sentences amid investigation into corruption at BRPD
BATON ROUGE - Two brothers arrested by a Baton Rouge police officer, who was later accused of stealing evidence, had their sentences cut down Thursday amid a massive review of cases handled by BRPD's narcotics division.
Deandre Robertson and Darryl Robertson were previously sentenced on drug charges in December 2019 and February 2020, respectively, related to the same case dating back to 2016. Darryl was serving a 15-year sentence, while Deandre was sentenced to 21 years.
A judge drastically reduced those sentences Thursday morning, cutting Deandre's sentence to 15 years and Darryl's to eight years and seven months.
Jason Acree, an officer at the center of the internal corruption investigation at BRPD, has been arrested on numerous charges highlighted by the WBRZ Investigative Unit. The allegations against Acree include accusations of stealing drugs from an evidence locker and smashing evidence while he was working a case.
"He is not to be trusted," David Utter, the brothers' lawyer said after the hearing.
He says the corruption from Acree and the BRPD's narcotics division is the reason his clients are behind bars.
"Jason Acree said that they committed a crime where we now know Jason Acree is in fact a criminal himself, or at least accused of crimes," Utter said.
After Acree's arrest, a former Baton Rouge police officer told WBRZ the department's drug squad was rife with wrongdoing, including cover-ups, quotas and claims of planting evidence. Watch that interview here.
Attorneys said they expect dozens more drug cases to be reviewed in wake of the corruption probe.
Utter says in the case of his clients he is hopeful that both Deandre and Darryl will be out of jail and home soon.
The East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore released the following statement on the amended convictions:
The amended convictions entered today came about after a re-evaluation of the cases in light of developments concerning the case agent, a now-former baton rouge city police officer. The case resolutions entered today were reached with the best interests of justice, trust in the system, judicial economy and public safety in mind We believe that the sentence reductions in these specific cases, under these circumstances responsibly balance the need to preserve trust and legitimacy in our criminal justice system while also ensuring safeguards are in place to maintain public safety.
Today’s action does not abrogate the guilt or sentences of these defendants and does not acknowledge any wrongdoing in these particular cases by any officer or agency but resolves any potential claims in any criminal or civil action.
Today’s action does not signal this office's use of its limited power to intervene in cases that have exhausted all legal appellate remedies but only those very limited cases that fair Justice demands.
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