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Officer's conviction jeopardizes 1,300 cases;

Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois)
BYLINE: BETH HUNDSDORFER, News-Democrat,

Alton, IL

An Alton police officer's federal conviction for stealing and lying put into jeopardy the prosecution of 1,300 pending Madison County cases -- one-third of all the county's felony filings, according to federal court documents.

When Mickey L. Dooley, 50, a former evidence technician for the Alton Police Department, was convicted in September 2008, he was named as a potential witness in 1,300 pending cases, including drug felonies and murders.

Federal prosecutors estimated that as many as 50 state felony prosecutions were affected by Dooley, resulting in reduced charges, dismissals and renegotiated dispositions resulting in unwarranted leniency.

"Evidence was presented at sentencing that Dooley's actions have adversely affected numerous federal and state prosecutions where Dooley was or is in the chain of custody of evidence," stated a release by the U.S. attorney's office.

A federal jury convicted Dooley of evidence tampering, fraud, receiving stolen property, tax evasion and theft last year. Prosecutors said he took money stolen from a bank robbery from Olin Credit Union and U.S. Bank. Dooley served as the department's evidence custodian for three years until July 2008 when an audit of the evidence vault uncovered missing money. The 24-year police veteran was placed on administrative leave after the audit was completed.

Prosecutors alleged Dooley developed a severed gambling habit and used money from the police's evidence vault to gamble.

U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy resentenced Mickey Dooley after an appellate court reversed his conviction on a wire fraud charge earlier this year. It was the same prison time Murphy imposed last year.

In addition to prison time, Dooley was ordered to pay a total of $48,748 in restitution, a $650 fine and a $725 special assessment.

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