Peters­burg

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - METRO 2 - Mbowes@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6450

The mo­tion is largely based on in­for­ma­tion that for­mer Peters­burg De­tec­tive Der­rick Greer re­vealed to Joanne Pena, a pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice in­ves­ti­ga­tor, and in­cludes se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of po­lice mis­con­duct dur­ing and af­ter the search of Fisher’s home — es­pe­cially in re­gards to for­mer Peters­burg De­tec­tive Shane Noblin, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment.

Greer told a Peters­burg in­ter­nal af­fairs of­fi­cer that he be­lieved Noblin was “dirty” and ex­pressed con­cerns “about Noblin’s eth­i­cal prac­tices as a po­lice of­fi­cer,” ac­cord­ing to the mo­tion, which adds, “This in­for­ma­tion was never re­vealed to the de­fense.”

Greer also voiced his con­cerns about Noblin in a June 2015 meet­ing with a Peters­burg pros­e­cu­tor, urg­ing her to throw out all his cases be­cause “ev­ery­body knows the guy is dirty,” the mo­tion says. Greer was as­signed as the property of­fi­cer dur­ing the search of Fisher’s home, the doc­u­ment adds.

In a de­vel­op­ment that Huband sug­gests is tied to the on­go­ing ev­i­dence room in­ves­ti­ga­tion and au­dit, he wrote that Greer searched an­other man at the house, iden­ti­fied as Arthur Moore, and found $400 to $500 in cash on him.

“Upon in­for­ma­tion and be­lief, Moore’s money is part of the more than thir­teen thou­sand dol­lars that re­cently went ‘miss­ing’ from the Po­lice Depart­ment’s property room due to what the Po­lice Depart­ment’s own in­ter­nal au­dit has re­vealed to be a ‘cler­i­cal er­ror,’” Huband wrote in his mo­tion.

Greer re­moved the money he found on Fisher dur­ing a search, the mo­tion says, and placed the cash into an ev­i­dence bag. How­ever, the pros­e­cu­tor han­dling the case in­di­cated to Fisher’s for­mer at­tor­ney ear­lier this year that no money had been re­cov­ered from the de­fen­dant, the mo­tion says.

Other al­le­ga­tions con­tained the mo­tion in­clude:

The war­rant ob­tained to search Fisher’s home was Noblin’s sec­ond at­tempt in se­cur­ing a war­rant. A mag­is­trate from whom Noblin orig­i­nally sought a war­rant re­fused to is­sue it.

While stand­ing on the porch of Fisher’s home, a Peters­burg po­lice lieu­tenant or­dered two other of­fi­cers on the scene to “turn around” as a bat­ter­ing ram was used to force open the door “with­out first knock­ing and an­nounc­ing,” as re­quired by law. Af­ter the door was com­pletely re­moved, the two of­fi­cers were in­structed to turn back around.

Af­ter po­lice se­cured the oc­cu­pants of the home, at least one mem­ber of the depart­ment’s tac­ti­cal team used a win­dow en­try tool to break sev­eral win­dows.

Af­ter re­mov­ing the home’s oc­cu­pants, “un­nec­es­sary, un­rea­son­able and sig­nif­i­cant dam­age was done” in­side the house. Tele­vi­sions and other elec­tronic equip­ment were dam­aged or de­stroyed.

Greer heard Noblin say the house would have to be “red-tagged,” or deemed un­in­hab­it­able, be­cause of the ex­tent of dam­age. “Noblin ap­peared to view this as pos­i­tive.”

Noblin claimed to have “re­tired” from the depart­ment in May 2015 but “it ap­pears that Noblin left the force be­cause he may have been sub­ject to de­mo­tion from de­tec­tive back to be­ing a pa­trol of­fi­cer.”

At an Oct. 20 hear­ing where the al­le­ga­tions were dis­cussed be­fore Cir­cuit Judge Den­nis S. Martin, Peters­burg pros­e­cu­tor Tif­fany Buckner told the court the al­le­ga­tions were based on hearsay and not facts, ac­cord­ing to a tran­script of the pro­ceed­ing.

“It’s based on one of­fi­cer that has an is­sue with an­other of­fi­cer, which has noth­ing to do with this case,” she said. “There is no fac­tual ba­sis to lead the com­mon­wealth to be­lieve that the of­fi­cer’s in­volved in any­thing im­proper.”

Noblin could not be lo­cated for com­ment. Through depart­ment spokes­woman Es­ther Hy­att, Peters­burg po­lice de­clined com­ment on the al­le­ga­tions be­cause the in­for­ma­tion “is part of an on­go­ing case and it would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate to com­ment at this time.”

“At the con­clu­sion of the case, send your ques­tions and we can make a state­ment,” Hy­att said in an email.

All three judges of Vir­ginia’s 11th Ju­di­cial Cir­cuit, which in­cludes Peters­burg, have re­cused them­selves from hear­ing the case af­ter the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice raised con­cerns and asked that a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor be ap­pointed. The Vir­ginia Supreme Court ap­pointed re­tired Hen­rico Cir­cuit Judge Cather­ine Ham­mond to pre­side, and Powhatan Deputy Com­mon­wealth’s At­tor­ney Robert Cerullo has been named spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor. A hear­ing has been sched­uled for Dec. 10 on the lat­est mo­tions.

At the Oct. 20 hear­ing that led to the ap­point­ment of a new judge and pros­e­cu­tor, Judge Martin de­scribed the al­le­ga­tions as “highly con­cern­ing.”

“The court is keenly con­cerned about the pub­lic’s per­cep­tion of the fairness of the court sys­tem par­tic­u­larly in a city that is ma­jor­ity mi­nor­ity and amongst mi­nori­ties who gen­er­ally tend to have a dis­trust of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, pe­riod,” Martin said, ac­cord­ing to the tran­script.

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