Pubdate: Tue, 15 Jun 2010 Source: Frederick News Post (MD) Copyright: 2010 Randall Family, LLC. Contact: http://mapinc.org/url/Z0khz4CI Website: http://www.fredericknewspost.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/814 Author: Kate Leckie, News-Post Staff Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/corrupt.htm (Corruption - United States) NINE DRUG CASES DROPPED IN WAKE OF PERJURY ALLEGATIONS Officer First Class Megan Mattingly has been reassigned to administrative duties while authorities investigate allegations she committed perjury. Charges have been dropped against nine defendants in drug cases since allegations surfaced that a Frederick Police Department officer perjured herself on the witness stand during a May 20 preliminary hearing, according to court records. In addition, a 10th case, previously concluded with the sentencing of a defendant, has been reopened so a Frederick woman can try to withdraw her Alford plea of guilt, records state. An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment that had the case proceeded to trial, the state had sufficient evidence to convict. Officer First Class Megan Mattingly, a member of the city police agency's drug enforcement unit, has been reassigned to administrative duties while authorities investigate allegations she committed perjury, authorities said last week. Mattingly testified she saw things she herself did not witness, but that a neighbor reported to police, defense attorney Norman C. Usiak said. Frederick Police Chief Kim Dine reassigned Mattingly on May 25. On May 18, Shaccara Janay Goines was ordered to serve two months and 29 days of a five-year sentence for the manufacture and distribution of marijuana, according to court documents stemming from charges filed by Mattingly. On May 20, District Judge W. Milnor Roberts tossed out felony drug charges against Harry L. Coleman Jr., 41, of Sykesville, in a case not related to the Goines matter. After a cross-examination by defense attorney Norman C. Usiak, in which Mattingly admitted to testifying falsely under oath, Roberts ruled the officer's testimony was not credible. Within days, criminal cases involving Mattingly started getting dropped from court calendars. Between May 25 and June 8, nine other defendants had drug charges dropped against them in cases in which Mattingly, a five-year veteran, either filed their charging documents or was a chief witness, a review of Mattingly's 172 cases revealed Monday. Mattingly will remain out of uniform handling administrative tasks pending the outcome of the investigation, which is the department's general practice when allegations of wrongdoing are raised. The officer's annual pay of $50,245 and benefits remain unchanged. Lt. Clark Pennington, spokesman for the Frederick Police Department, said the agency will review its policies and procedures related to its drug unit and its training academy in light of the allegations involving Mattingly. "As in any situation that arises, we're constantly reviewing our general orders to see if anything needs to be changed or adjusted," Pennington said. He wouldn't address Mattingly's court testimony that officers are taught to always write charging documents in the first person, whether they witnessed something firsthand or were reporting activity witnessed by someone else. "That's part of an open investigation into an internal matter," he said. The Frederick Police Department has asked the Montgomery County Police Department to investigate what happened. Mattingly's attorney, Patrick J. McAndrew, continued to say Monday that he will launch a vigorous defense. No criminal charges have been filed. The week after the ruling in the Coleman case, Goines' attorney filed motions for a new trial and to withdraw her Alford plea of guilt. The attorney, assistant Public Defender Margaret A. Teahan, could not be reached for comment.