News and Press Releases

Former camden police sergeant sentenced to eight months in prison for conspiracy to deprive others of civil rights



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2012


 

CAMDEN, N.J. – A former Camden police sergeant was sentenced today to eight months in prison followed by four months of home confinement for his role in a conspiracy to deprive others of their civil rights, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Dan E. Morris, 49, of Moorestown, N.J., previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to an Information charging him with conspiring to deprive others their civil rights. Judge Kugler imposed the sentence today in Camden federal court.

Morris was the third officer to plead guilty to participating in this conspiracy while serving as a Camden police officer. Kevin Parry and Jason Stetser entered guilty pleas before Judge Kugler on March 19, 2010, and June 29, 2010, respectively. Parry was sentenced on Oct. 10, 2012, to 20 months in prison. Stetser is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 9, 2013. Two other officers went to trial: Antonio Figueroa was found guilty on Dec. 9, 2011, and sentenced on Sept. 7, 2012, to 120 months in prison; Robert Bayard was acquitted at trial.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Morris admitted that between May 2007 and September 2008, he conducted illegal searches without a search warrant or consent; obtained coerced consents to search residences based on threats and undue pressure; stole money during illegal searches and arrests; and allowed officers he supervised to include facts in police reports that were false.

Morris became an officer with the Camden Police Department in 1986 and served as a sergeant during the relevant period, supervising the other four officers. Morris admitted that he and other members of the conspiracy conducted illegal searches of residences without warrants or valid consent and that they stole money during searches. Morris also admitted the other officers falsified police reports and testified falsely under oath in an endeavor to conceal their actions.

During his guilty plea, Morris detailed specific examples of his illegal conduct in support of the conspiracy:

In August 2008, Morris and other officers conducted an illegal search of a Camden residence that uncovered drugs which were used to charge a person identified as A.C. Morris also kept a portion of the money found during this search rather than turning it in as evidence. Stetser then falsified a police report in connection with the arrest.

In September 2008, Morris, Stetser, and Parry conducted a search of a residence located in the area of Ferry Avenue in Camden. Morris admitted that while conducting the search, he stole a quantity of money he found in a bedroom dresser, sharing $800 with Stetser after the search.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI’s Resident Agency in Cherry Hill, N.J., under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos; investigators and prosecutors of the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk; deputy attorney generals from the N.J. Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa; and the Camden Police Department, under the direction of Chief John S. Thomson, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Deputy U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Skahill of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

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Defense counsel: Paul A. Sarmousakis Esq., Avalon, N.J.

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