Florida Prosecutors Drop 119 Cases After Proof Deputy Planted Evidence
More than 250 cases are being reviewed after Florida prosecutors learned a deputy was responsible for planting evidence, which subsequently sent innocent men and women to jail. According to ABC 10, the charges filed included everything from misdemeanors, criminal traffic offenses, and felonies such as methamphetamine possession.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the cases involving Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired on September 10.
“We have completed the work we know about,” State Attorney Glenn Hess. “If additional information is received, we will follow that up. I have not received the FDLE report so I cannot say for sure that we are finished.”
Hess said he “lost confidence” in Wester after viewing body cam footage of him arresting a woman in Jackson County and planting drugs, which subsequently led to her being charged with possession of meth.
For seven minutes Jackson County Judge Wayne Mercer read the names of the 49 men and women who were wrongfully placed in jail because of Wester’s corruption. Assistant Public Defender Derek Blount asked that some 40 pleas be dismissed and sentences vacated. After Mercer agreed, Assistant State Attorney Laura Parish stated the state was dropping the charges.