By Tony Thomas
LILBURN, Ga. —
Defense attorneys across Gwinnett County are gearing up for what could be a ton of court battles in the aftermath of an evidence corruption scandal in a local police department.
As Channel 2’s Tony Thomas first reported on Monday, an internal affairs investigation led to the resignation of Lilburn Police Detective Kim Banks.
Now, details are emerging about just how many cases could be affected.
Banks resigned amid allegations she stole prescription pills from the department’s evidence room. In an exclusive interview Monday, Banks said she never did anything illegal.
Defense attorneys are preparing to pounce though.
“It’s a gold mine, it’s a gold mine. I know for a fact it’s circulating among the criminal defense bar right now,’Hey, go look at your files, your past files, your current files,'” said defense attorney and former Lilburn police officer Mike Puglise. “How deep does this go?”
Thomas obtained the Internal Affairs report from Lilburn police which showed the case started with pills missing from
Then when investigators searched her office and city-issued car right after she resigned, they say they found other ripped
-open evidence bags in her desk and pills missing.
Records cite at least four cases specifically affected. A sealed bag of meth was also reportedly found in her desk that was tested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigations but never returned to evidence
and in her car, a sealed bag of cocaine and five baggies of marijuana — again, tested by the GBI but never returned to evidence.
Puglise believes the department should call in an outside agency to review its procedures and evidence room.
“Now you can’t look at the Lilburn Police Department evidence room as an evidence room any more, now it’s for practical purposes a crime scene, and you need to treat it as a crime scene,” he said.
Banks insists she knows nothing about other tainted cases.
“Are there any other cases affected by this?” Thomas asked her.
“Absolutely not. I don’t even know what cases they are talking about,” she replied.