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Held for 2 years without trial, man could get $57K settlement

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates on Wednesday is set to approve a $57,500 settlement with a man who was incarcerated for nearly two years before federal drug and weapons charges against him were dropped.

Devin Jones was arrested based on a warrant obtained by Baltimore Police Department officers in May 2012. Narcotics and weapons charges were then brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office but were dismissed by prosecutors after a suppression hearing in March 2014, according to the memorandum about the settlement prepared for the city spending panel.

The suppression hearing revealed possible inconsistencies between the oral testimony and written affidavit of Baltimore Detective Ramon Lugo Jr., one of the officers who obtained the search and seizure warrant.

A suppression motion filed in the federal criminal case accused Lugo of embellishing facts to establish probable cause to search Jones’ residence but never alleging he witnessed any illegal activity there. Lugo “identifies no reason to believe that the location searched… was connected to the narcotics distribution that the affiant allegedly witnessed” six miles away, the motion states.

The motion also claims as false Lugo’s statement in the affidavit that he gave a description of Jones and his vehicle after allegedly observing a drug transaction to fellow.

Lugo denies any wrongdoing, according to the memorandum about the lawsuit.

Jones filed suit in Baltimore City Circuit Court on Dec. 29, 2015 seeking damages for the search of his home and vehicle, imprisonment for 764 days and emotional distress. The city’s law department recommended the settlement because of “conflicting factual issues and considerable time in custody by” Jones.

Jones was represented by Brandon Wolven and Donald C. Discepolo of Discepolo LLP in Baltimore. Wolven did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The case is Devin Leroy Jones v. Officer Ramon Lugo Jr., 24C15007140.

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