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Albert Cass

Summary of Camden Misconduct
On December 24, 2007, several police officers in Camden, New Jersey, arrested 44-year-old Albert Cass. Cass lived a few towns away and was in his sister’s car near the corner of Broadway and Viola Street.

Cass would later say that several officers pulled up behind him, then pulled him out of the vehicle and handcuffed him. He was placed in a patrol car and taken to the Camden County Jail. Cass said the officers stole approximately $1,200 from him. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, and three counts related to unlawful possession of a handgun.

Cass remained in jail for more than nine months and pled guilty to unlawful possession of a handgun on October 3, 2008. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

On March 19, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice began bringing indictments against five Camden officers, charging them with a wide range of crimes and civil-rights violations, including planting evidence, falsification of reports, perjury and theft.

The indictments followed an investigation by the FBI into the department after the Camden County Office of the Public Defender asked the Camden police department’s Internal Affairs unit to examine complaints about officer misconduct more vigorously. In later litigation, plaintiffs alleged that the officers’ actions went undetected because of a breakdown in internal affairs, which was understaffed and used antiquated systems.

Three of the officers – Kevin Parry, Jason Stetser, and their supervisor, Dan Morris – pled guilty. The other two –Antonio Figueroa and Robert Bayard – went to trial. Figueroa was convicted; Bayard was acquitted.

Even before the first indictment against the officers, the Camden County Prosecutor had begun filing motions to vacate convictions and dismiss charges against defendants whose convictions were tainted by the apparent misconduct. Rather than waiting for individuals to come forward, the prosecutor’s office audited cases and then dismissed those that relied on the testimony or reports of the officers. As word of the dismissals spread, other potential victims of the officers’ misconduct came forward. Ultimately, judges threw out convictions and granted dismissals for more than 50 defendants.

A judge vacated Cass’s conviction and dismissed his indictment on February 7, 2010. Despite the judge’s order, Cass remained in prison until March 8, 2010.

Following the indictments, defendants began filing lawsuits against the city and the officers for violations of their civil rights. The lead lawsuit was filed on July 29, 2010, by the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Joel Barnes. It was eventually joined with lawsuits filed in state and federal court by Cass and 86 other persons, including several who were never convicted and had their charges dismissed after the misconduct by the officers was brought to light.

Cass said in his lawsuit that four of the officers, excluding Morris, were involved in his arrest. He also denied the officers’ claims in the arrest report that he possessed the drugs or illegally possessed the gun.

The lawsuits were settled on January 10, 2013, with the defendants sharing $3.5 million. Separately, 16 defendants also received compensation totaling $649,000 from the State of New Jersey for their wrongful convictions. Cass did not receive state compensation.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 8/29/2022
Last Updated: 8/29/2022
State:New Jersey
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2007
Sentence:5 years
Age at the date of reported crime:44
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No