Prosecutors seek dismissal of Cedar Hill drug case

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by By TANYA EISERER / The Dallas Morning News

Bio | Email | Follow: @tanyaeiserer

wfaa.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 16 at 12:28 PM

Prosecutors on Monday moved to dismiss two felony charges against a convicted felon after a judge threw out evidence gathered by a Dallas police squad whose work on dozens of cases is under review by the Dallas County district attorney's office.

A central issue in the case against Troy Compton was whether the officers violated the law by threatening to take his wife to jail and hand his 5-year-old son over to Child Protective Services if he didn't agree to let officers search a Cedar Hill home in July.

The officers testified that they made no threats or promises to Compton, 44.

Judge Pat McDowell threw out all the evidence seized in the search, saying he did not believe the consent had been voluntary. Tim Gallagher, the prosecutor who's leading a review of the squad headed by Sgt. Randy Sundquist, told the judge he had similar concerns.

The review began this year after prosecutors concluded that an officer lied about whether a drug suspect was carrying a gun and drugs, leading to the man's arrest and jailing for 10 months on false charges. A videotape later showed that Thomas Hannon wasn't carrying a bag that contained the illegal items.

The police officer, Senior Cpl. David Nevitt, has denied any wrongdoing.

On July 17, Sundquist and his officers went to Cedar Hill to arrest Compton for not reporting to his parole officer. They charged him on felony drug and gun counts that arose from the search.

The official report, filed by Senior Cpl. David Durica, states that officers entered the home and arrested Compton, who then gave written consent for police to search the home. Officers found a gun and two baggies containing methamphetamine in a toilet. Compton said the drugs belonged to him, the report said.

"He asked us if he took responsibility for all the drugs, for everything that was in the house, would his wife go to jail?" Sundquist testified. "If he took responsibility for the drugs, we couldn't very well put her in jail for something that he took responsibility for."

What's most striking about the report is what the officers left out, including that Compton initially refused the search and that his wife tried to flush the drugs.

Bill Wirskye, Compton's defense attorney, said the missing details raise red flags, as they did in Hannon's case.

"You have to question their credibility when you look at everything that was left out of their police report," he said.

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