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Trials and Arbitration

Defense attorneys win access to internal affairs complaints against Baltimore police officer

Defense attorneys win access to internal affairs complaints against Baltimore police officer

Attorneys for a group of defendants arrested by a Baltimore police sergeant can view the internal affairs files for more than 30 complaints against him and use them to challenge his credibility, a city judge has ruled.

Sgt. Joseph Donato's record includes excessive-force and false-arrest complaints that were sustained by internal affairs investigators. Prosecutors are required to disclose potentially relevant material to defendants but had not revealed these cases. They said in court this month they did not believe they were required to turn over the files, which are protected under the state's personnel laws.

In his ruling, Circuit Judge John S. Nugent concluded that the...

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