Allegations against CPD detective causing other legal fallout - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Allegations against CPD detective causing other legal fallout

Posted: Updated:
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Recent allegations against a Chattanooga police officer could cause problems for others in court.

Detective Karl Fields is under TBI criminal investigation for alleged inappropriate contact with a woman who filed a rape report. It was a case he was investigating. Attorneys say this can create issues for other cases.

This is the second time Fields has been placed on administrative leave. The first time was after he pleaded guilty to a DUI in 2006. Some of Fields' other police work has been under scrutiny in recent court proceedings.

"It's opened up a can of worms, and unfortunately it's going to add to the additional duties of the Police Department and District Attorney General's office," said Chattanooga defense attorney Jerry Summers, addressing some of the legal fallout tied to the current criminal investigation into Fields.

Summers said it can complicate prosecuting other cases where Fields was in charge.

"Can they (prosecutors) make a case without Fields and get corroborative evidence?" asked Summers, who is a former prosecutor and a defense attorney since 1969. "But then you've still got this specter of Fields hanging over the case. It's going to be looked at very carefully."

Chattanooga Police Chief Fred Fletcher said all of Fields' cases were reassigned.

"We will be doing a quality control on previous cases," Fletcher said during a news conference earlier this week.

Some of Fields' past police work has faced recent scrutiny in the courtroom. He was the lead detective in Cordalro Strickland's murder case. Strickland is accused of shooting Melvin Fennell to death in 2011.

Strickland's former attorney, John Cavett, filed a motion asking the judge to throw out DNA evidence. Cavett said the DNA sample was "unreliable" because Fields couldn't say where it was collected at the scene.

In another murder case Fields oversaw, attorney Lee Davis asked Judge Don Poole to dismiss Cornelius Douglas' charges, citing other problems with Fields' investigation. Douglas is accused of killing D'Andray Thomas in 2013. Six guns found in a backpack at that crime scene weren't tested. In a previous hearing, Fields admitted to Davis it was a mistake.

"The detective at the police department failed to properly account for and test at that time," Davis argued.

Fields is currently on paid administrative leave, per department policy.

"This isn't the first time a scandal like this has happened. I've been doing this a long time. Most of the police officers are good people, some of them are too gung-ho, and every once in a while there's a bad apple that gets into the bunch," Summers said.

According to Summers, other defense lawyers will likely request that prosecutors hand over exonerating evidence that links Fields' involvement in cases.

He said attorneys could also start seeking to overturn convictions for clients who were convicted in the past year (whose cases were also investigated by Fields). In Tennessee, there is a one-year statute of limitations to file for post-conviction relief.

The District Attorney's office could not comment on any current cases. Fletcher confirmed during the news conference that the department is checking up on Fields' previous cases as part of an internal investigation.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Great Weather Headed Our Way

    Great Weather Headed Our Way

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 5:13 AM EDT2017-08-22 09:13:02 GMT

    Good Tuesday.  We will be hot and humid again today with the high reaching 93 degrees.  The heat index will top out in the upper 90s.  While we will see clouds building through the day, the chance for rain is very small, less than 20%. Wednesday marks a big change in our weather.  We will see a cold front moving through which will bring scattered showers to the area late Wednesday morning into early afternoon. 

    More

    Good Tuesday.  We will be hot and humid again today with the high reaching 93 degrees.  The heat index will top out in the upper 90s.  While we will see clouds building through the day, the chance for rain is very small, less than 20%. Wednesday marks a big change in our weather.  We will see a cold front moving through which will bring scattered showers to the area late Wednesday morning into early afternoon. 

    More
  • TWRA: Free hunting day set for Aug. 26

    TWRA: Free hunting day set for Aug. 26

    Tuesday, August 22 2017 3:15 AM EDT2017-08-22 07:15:13 GMT
    NASHVILLE --- Tennessee residents are allowed to hunt without a license on Saturday, Aug. 26 which coincides with the opening day of squirrel season. Free Hunting Day is an event the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency annually provides in hopes of increasing interest in hunting. Squirrel hunting is one of Tennessee’s oldest and favorite traditions. The day serves as an excellent opportunity for persons to experience the enjoyment of the sport. The TWRA encourages regular hunt...More
    NASHVILLE --- Tennessee residents are allowed to hunt without a license on Saturday, Aug. 26 which coincides with the opening day of squirrel season. Free Hunting Day is an event the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency annually provides in hopes of increasing interest in hunting. Squirrel hunting is one of Tennessee’s oldest and favorite traditions. The day serves as an excellent opportunity for persons to experience the enjoyment of the sport. The TWRA encourages regular hunt...More
  • Sen. Corker releases statement on President's Afghanistan strategy

    Sen. Corker releases statement on President's Afghanistan strategy

    Monday, August 21 2017 11:34 PM EDT2017-08-22 03:34:08 GMT
    U.S. Sen. Bob Corker. WRCBtv.com photoU.S. Sen. Bob Corker. WRCBtv.com photo

    Sen. Bob Corker released a statement Monday on President Trump's address on Afghanistan.

    More

    Sen. Bob Corker released a statement Monday on President Trump's address on Afghanistan.

    More
Powered by Frankly