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Ronald Demby

Summary of Camden Misconduct
On April 4, 2008, police in Camden, New Jersey arrested 43-year-old Ronald Demby and charged him with four counts of drug possession and distribution.

Demby pled guilty to the charges in Camden County Superior Court on May 28, 2008, and received a sentence of four 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 Demby’s conviction and dismissed his charge on December 18, 2009, releasing him from prison.

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 Demby 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.

In his lawsuit, Demby said he was walking down the street at the time of his arrest and not in possession of any controlled substances. He said Stetser and the other officers handcuffed him and demanded that he tell them about people possessing illegal weapons. When Demby said he didn’t have any information, the officers told him he would be arrested for drug possession. Demby said the officers entered an abandoned house and returned with two bags of heroin and cocaine that they planted on him. Demby said he pled guilty because he knew a jury would not believe that the officers planted evidence on him.

The lawsuits were settled on January 10, 2013, with the defendants sharing $3.5 million. Separately, 18 defendants also received compensation totaling more than $700,000 from the State of New Jersey for their wrongful convictions. Demby received $35,106 plus $2,500 in state compensation.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 8/19/2022
Last Updated: 6/5/2023
State:New Jersey
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2008
Sentence:4 years
Age at the date of reported crime:42
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No