Richmond Times-Dispatch


- Mbowes@timesdispa­ (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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