The Knox County District Attorney’s Office will review both active and closed cases involving a former Rockland police officer accused of demonstrating an ongoing pattern of dishonesty.
The review will determine whether further prosecution is warranted in active cases, and if closed cases should be reopened, according to a statement from Knox County District Attorney Jonathan Liberman.
In a ruling last month, a judge urged the district attorney’s office to review all cases involving former officer Jacob Shirey, who resigned from the Rockland Police Department in early 2017.
An internal investigation was conducted by the department in 2016, following “concerns about [Shirey’s] professionalism and honesty,” according to Liberman.
Following the investigation, the district attorney’s office brought the concerns about Shirey to the court, as well as notifying defendants and attorneys in cases involving Shirey that the office had information relevant to his credibility.
In May 2017, a judge ruled that the Knox County District Attorney’s Office must surrender information it had on Shirey to defendants in pending cases that the officer handled.
Justice Daniel Billings allowed a Union man to withdraw his guilty plea on a 5-year-old operating-under-the-influence case, in which Shirey was the arresting officer.
In his ruling on the motion to withdraw the plea, Billings wrote, “Rather than trying to salvage a prosecution that has been tainted by a dishonest officer, the state should be reviewing prior convictions involving former Officer Shirey to determine if any of these cases should be reopened.”
Specifics about the allegations against Shirey have not been available in court documents, but Billings said that the materials presented were “quite disturbing” and demonstrate a “longstanding pattern of neglect of his duties.”
Liberman estimated that Shirey was involved in more than 300 cases. However, the district attorney’s office expects Shirey was an essential witness in “far fewer cases,” Liberman said in an email. “We will be focusing our efforts on cases where convictions hinged on his credibility as a witness,” he said.
Shirey graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in 2013 as an officer with the Rockland Police Department. He no longer works in law enforcement, according to court documents.
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