Defense attorney wants entire careers of officers charged reviewed
MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee defense attorney says she is questioning the validity of hundreds of convictions -- after four Milwaukee police officers were charged in connection with illegal strip searches and body cavity searches. The defense attorney says she would like every conviction those officers have handled to be re-examined.
Criminal defense lawyer Robin Shellow represents one of the victims named named in court documents detailing body cavity searches allegedly performed by Milwaukee police officers. Shellow says she believes there could be more victims who have already been through the justice system and are now serving time.
"My guess is that there are hundreds of convictions that resulted in these illegal body cavity searches that need to be looked at," Shellow said.
Shellow says she has received numerous calls since four Milwaukee police officers were charged last week. Shellow says she has received calls from family members of incarcerated individuals claiming their loved ones had also been illegally searched.
"The notion is that criminal defendants have constitutional rights and if their constitutional rights are violated and it's not picked up before they're convicted, then those are what we call wrongful convictions," Shellow said.
Shellow says she would like to see a joint task force formed between the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office and the Milwaukee Defense Attorney's Bar to review past convictions resulting from these officers' involvement.
"It's a process that's going to take some time. There are people doing prison time whose constitutional rights have been violated. It needs to be started yesterday," Shellow said.
The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office says it started such a process months ago. In a statement to FOX6 News, Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said: "During the course of this investigation, we have examined numerous cases, some of which we have already dismissed. We will continue to evaluate other cases and address them in an appropriate manner."
Shellow contends only looking at recent cases is not enough. She want to put these officers' entire careers under the microscope.
"The date that these officers became police officers -- that's where they got to start," Shellow said.
The four officers who have been charged are currently suspended with pay. They are scheduled to be back in court November 2nd for their preliminary hearing.
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