Court upholds convictions of 2 corrupt Baltimore detectives

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the robbery, racketeering and conspiracy convictions of two Baltimore detectives who were members of a corrupt police unit.

Daniel Hersl and Marcus Taylor were each sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted during a 2018 trial. Both detectives were members of the once-lauded Gun Trace Task Force, a group that was supposed to take guns off the streets of Baltimore.

Four former police colleagues testified during the trial that task force members conducted illegal searches and stole money, drugs and other items while acting as police officers.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments by Hersl and Taylor that there wasn't enough evidence to convict them and that the court abused its discretion when it denied various pre-trial motions. They also challenged the reasonableness of their sentences.

In a written ruling, Judge Paul Niemeyer called the scandal a "particularly sad case" and said the officers' convictions and sentences are "just and necessary."

During the trial, a federal prosecutor described the police unit as a "perfect storm" of rogue officers and said the detectives were "both cops and robbers at the same time."

A total of eight members of the task force were indicted on a list of charges, including extortion, robbery, falsifying evidence, reselling seized drugs and defrauding their department with bogus overtime claims. Six of the officers pleaded guilty.

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