Prosecutor drops 63 cases after officer’s arrest

(WISH Photo, file)
(WISH Photo, file)

MADISON, Ind. (AP) — Two suspects have been released from a southern Indiana jail following a prosecutor’s decision to dismiss 63 cases after the arresting officer in those cases was himself arrested on felony charges.

Madison police Officer Josh Abbott, 32, was being held on $50,000 cash bond Wednesday in Jefferson County jail in the Ohio River city of Madison. He was arrested last week on felony domestic violence charges, including one count alleging that he pointed a gun at his girlfriend.

The Associated Press left a phone message Wednesday seeking comment from Abbott’s attorney, Murielle Webster Bright of North Vernon.

Prosecutor Chad Lewis told The Madison Courier (http://bit.ly/1djCnu5 ) that he’s dropping charges in 63 cases in which Abbott was involved, including some involving drunken driving, theft and drug charges. Twenty-nine of the cases included felony charges. Abbott made most of the arrests following traffic stops.

On Monday authorities released two of the people arrested in those traffic stops, Sheriff John Wallace said. It was not immediately clear if any others were also released.

Lewis said he reviewed each case to determine whether enough evidence remained without Abbott’s testimony. If not, the charges were dropped.

“While Mr. Abbott is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the prosecutor’s office cannot in good faith continue to prosecute members of our community based on Mr. Abbott’s work as a police officer,” Lewis said in a news release.

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