The arrests of a San Jose police officer accused of keeping large amounts of marijuana in a storage unit will have a huge effect on every case that officer ever touched, according to one legal expert.
Police arrested Officer Son Vu was arrested earlier this week. He is the sixth San Jose police officer to be arrested in the last three years.
The six are accused of crimes including money laundering, sex with a minor, rape and now drugs. That's potentially hundreds of cases involving those officers that need to be reviewed, if not thrown out.
They walk in and out of court every day: police officers testifying before a jury, trying to help convict someone they may have arrested. But NBC Bay Area legal expert Steven Clark said many cases are now in jeopardy after this week's arrest of San Jose Police Officer Son Vu for allegedly storing 20 pounds of marijuana in a storage locker.
“Any case that that officer has ever touched is going to have to be reviewed,” Clark said.
Clark said the arrest of an officer can have a ripple effect on the entire legal system, with jurors questioning the credibility of all officers on the stand.
Clark calls it collateral damage. Factor in the five other San Jose police officers arrested over the last three years, and the consequences can be very damaging, according to Clark.
“Officers are always given the benefit of the doubt when they come to court to testify,” Clark said, “and when you have these types of arrests, that public trust is eroded for any officer who comes to court."
Clark said convicted inmates could even be released if their cases involved the arrested officers.
San Jose Police Officers Association spokesperson Jim Unland said he agrees that public trust is affected by these arrests, but he is adamant the rank-and-file won't stand behind anyone who breaks the law, even if it’s one of their own.
“If it's true he was involved,” Unland said, “he's got whatever he's got coming to him."