Baltimore courts dismissed 2,800 dismissed cases last year when officers didn’t appear in court, says the Baltimore Sun. Law enforcement officials say the number of officer no-shows is too high, and data suggest an uptick to start the year. Officials point to a recent 75 percent reduction of no-shows in serious gun cases thanks to increased scrutiny, yet officers’ failure to appear remains the most common reason thousands of charges are dropped each year, the majority involving drugs.
Authorities cite a host of reasons officers cannot always make court appearances, from child care problems and approved vacation to a reluctance after working a regular shift to sit through cases that they believe are likely to be delayed or thrown out. Union officials say that’s not a justification – just a reality of police work. Explanations often do not filter up to the prosecutors forced to drop the cases. The Baltimore state’s attorney’s office compiles monthly reports that note “no reason” given for officer absences in 90 percent of the cases that are dropped.