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Baltimore officer steps down as charges dropped in recording of judge

City prosecutors have dropped all charges against a Baltimore police sergeant accused of surreptitiously recording a conversation with a judge, the state's attorney's office announced Friday.

Sgt. Carlos Vila, whose earlier jury trial on the charges ended with a mistrial, agreed to step down and may not seek future employment in law enforcement, prosecutors said. Vila's attorney, Catherine Flynn, declined to comment.

Prosecutors had charged Vila with misconduct in office and intercepting electronic communications.

The case began on a Saturday night in April 2012, when Vila recorded an exchange in which he asked District Judge Joan B. Gordon to sign a warrant to search a car in which a shooting victim had been found.

Gordon thought the matter was not urgent and could wait until normal business hours on Monday, according to the recording, which was played in court this week. Vila testified that he made the recording to protect himself, and did not believe he did anything wrong.

Records show that Friday, the day the case was dropped, marked the 20th anniversary of Vila's employment with the Police Department, which would make him eligible for retirement. Vila will be eligible to collect a pension, according to Robert Cherry, the president of the city's Fraternal Order of Police lodge.

Prosecutors provided a statement from Gordon, which said she was "satisfied that Mr. Vila's resignation from the Baltimore Police Department is a fair and appropriate resolution to this case, and I now consider the matter closed."

Judges are required to be on call after normal business hours to sign search warrants about one week out of the year, a duty for which they take turns.

In this case, the judge wanted to speak with Vila's supervisor before signing the warrant. Vila told her that his lieutenant was off that day and not on call.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jessica Anderson contributed to this article.



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