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Thursday, April 6, 2006 05:55 pm

Questionable sources

Detective accused of lying; lawyer wants identity of informant

There’s good news and bad news for the two Springfield Police detectives who have spent the past few months on paid administrative leave. The good news is that Jim Graham and Paul Carpenter have been exonerated by SPD’s internal affairs investigators in at least one complaint filed against them; the bad news is that a pending court motion could force Carpenter to identify one of his regular informants. Both detectives remain on paid leave while Illinois State Police investigators continue investigating allegations of misconduct. They were exonerated last week by SPD on a complaint filed by Thomas Munoz, a parolee the detectives arrested in December for attempted burglary of a Rochester church [see Rhodes, “To tell the truth,” May 5, 2005]. That arrest allowed the detectives to question Munoz about another incident in which they considered him a suspect — the Dec. 21 beating of Monsignor Eugene Costa in Douglas Park. The detectives quickly determined that Munoz was not involved in the beating; two other people subsequently confessed to the crime. But because Munoz was on parole, the arrest sent him back to prison. He was finally released 70 days later when the attempted burglary charge was dismissed. Munoz has filed a lawsuit against Graham, Carpenter, and another SPD detective, Rick Dhabalt. More questions about Graham’s and Carpenter’s tactics were raised this week in a motion filed Wednesday in a case involving two brothers accused of a shooting at a house on East Cedar Street. No one was injured in the Feb. 15, 2005 drive-by. Police arrested Ryan Roberson and his half-brothers, Micah and Stanley Morgan, but later dismissed charges against Roberson. The Morgans face charges of aggravated discharge of a firearm. Carpenter obtained a warrant to search Micah Morgan’s home based on the word of an unnamed informant. In his affidavit requesting the warrant, Carpenter described the informant as someone who had provided him information at least once a week for about two years. Carpenter described this informant as “truthful” and “a very reliable source of information,” and credited the informant with helping SPD obtain “numerous arrests and convictions.” For all this service, the informant had never received any compensation, Carpenter said. Bruce Locher, attorney for the Morgan brothers, has filed a motion requesting the name of this informant, along with information on other arrests or convictions based on this informant’s word. According to the motion, “the Defendant believes that Carpenter has lied in these affidavits . . . .” Questions about Carpenter’s use of confidential sources, or informants, had previously been raised by former SPD narcotics supervisor, Ron Vose. In a lengthy memo submitted to Chief Don Kliment more than a year ago, Vose outlined problems he had noticed with the detectives’ search warrants. Vose’s memo has never been made public, but the general tenor of his allegations has been revealed in other court documents. Those allegations include a complaint that Carpenter and Graham obtained search warrants based on information from informants who had not been properly registered by SPD. According to the department’s general orders, officers who use confidential sources must keep on file each informant’s identifying information, including a physical description, photograph, fingerprint card, criminal history, phone numbers, addresses, and vehicle registration, plus a similar inventory on all known associates of each informant. Carpenter’s relationship with one informant came under scrutiny when the detective provided a phony time card to officials in another state in an apparent attempt to help the source complete his public service requirement [see Rhodes, “Something doesn’t add up” March 2]. The time card indicated the probationer had done volunteer work every day except one for a month, including 16 hours every Saturday and Sunday.
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