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Jermaine Dollard

Other 2015 Drug Exonerations
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In May 2012, Delaware state police obtained warrants to tap three cellular telephones used by Galen Brooks, a suspected drug dealer, as part of an investigation of drug dealing in Kent County.

On May 30, 2012, police heard Brooks discussing the sale and delivery of several kilograms of cocaine with an unidentified male. The following day, at 2:09 p.m., police heard the same male call from the same number and ask Brooks when he was going to arrive. Brooks, who was being followed by police, said he was 15 minutes away.

At 2:33 p.m. Brooks pulled into a driveway at a home in Smyrna, Delaware next to a Honda Accord. Police determined the Accord was registered to Keisha Adkins and a check of driver’s license records revealed a license issued to Keisha Dollard with the address of the house. A search of property tax records showed the home was owned by Keisha Dollard and 38-year-old Jermaine Dollard.

Police believed that Brooks was dealing cocaine that he obtained from Jermaine Dollard. Police said that on June 2, 2012, they heard Dollard tell Brooks on the phone that he had $5,000 and he needed $1,200 more to “finish his mission.” Brooks said he had that much in his pocket.

Police later obtained search warrants to intercept Dollard’s calls and police came to believe that Dollard intended to travel to New York City to buy drugs. On June 13, 2012, police followed Dollard, who was driving the Honda Accord that the officer saw in the driveway on May 31. On the way back from New York City, officers conducted a traffic stop and found two kilograms of suspected cocaine in a secret compartment.

Dollard went to trial in Kent County Superior Court in October 2013. Police presented evidence of the taped conversations as well as their surveillance and seizure of the two tightly wrapped bricks of cocaine. A laboratory analyst from The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Controlled Substance Laboratory testified that tests performed on the bricks confirmed that the white powder was cocaine.

On November 6, 2013, a jury convicted Dollard of aggravated possession of cocaine, drug dealing cocaine and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In early 2014, investigators discovered that drugs sent to the Medical Examiner’s Office for testing between 2010 and 2012 were missing—primarily OxyContin tablets. The lab was closed in February 2014 and an investigation focused on the tampering and theft of alleged drug evidence by a lab worker. State investigators tate released a lengthy report in June 2014 that mentioned in a footnote near the end end of the report that they were investigating an allegation that one or more of the chemists may have been "dry labbing" results--where analysts were testifying that they conducted tests, but actually did not perform any tests at all.

By the end of 2014, two lab employees had been charged--one with stealing drugs from the lab and the other with falsifying reports of testing. In 2015, charges against one employee for falsifying reports was dismissed by the prosecution. The other employee pled no contest to official misconduct. In addition, more than 200 pending drug cases were dismissed and charges in dozens of other cases were reduced.

Alexander Funk, an attorney for Dollard, citing the lab scandal, filed a motion for a new trial on the basis of the lab corruption allegations. In December 2014, Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves suggested that rather than order a hearing on the motion, that the drugs be retested. If the drugs were cocaine, Graves said, there would be no reason to go forward with the motion. Graves was dubious that the testing would make a difference in the case.

“As to whether or not any problems in the medical examiner’s office would have created the probability of a different result? I don’t think so, but let’s wait and see,” Graves said. “If that comes back as cocaine, which I suspect everybody in this room is probably going to bet the ranch that it’s going to come back cocaine… then the motion for a new trial is going to be denied.”

But the lab tests came back negative for cocaine and the prosecution said the bricks appeared to be sugar or some other baking product.

On January 14, 2015, the motion for a new trial was granted. The prosecution dismissed the charges and Dollard was released. Dollard subsequently filed a lawsuit in Kent County Superior Court seeking damages.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/1/2015
Last Updated: 1/15/2017
State:Delaware
County:Kent
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:Conspiracy
Reported Crime Date:2012
Convicted:2013
Exonerated:2015
Sentence:20 years
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:38
Contributing Factors:False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No