A federal appeals court has upheld the conspiracy convictions of two former San Francisco police officers for their scheme to conduct illegal searches, steal drugs, cash and gift cards from suspects.
Sgt. Ian Furminger and officer Edmond Robles were convicted in 2014 of conspiracy to deprive suspects of their civil rights and two counts of fraud. Furminger was sentenced to three years, five months in prison and Robles to three years, three months by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld their convictions Friday, rejecting arguments that they should have had separate trials.
There was no “serious risk” that a joint trial prevented the jury from making a reliable judgment, the panel said. Nor was it error to allow prosecutors to introduce texts by Furminger about his financial status because the texts were not particularly prejudicial, the appeals court said.
In addition, the court held there was sufficient evidence to convict Furminger and Robles of wire fraud. The government showed the officers missued their authority to steal money and property from victims while the officials conducted legal searches and arrests “when their true aim was to commit theft,” the court said.
A third officer, Reynaldo Vargas, testified for the government against his former colleagues about a series of illegal searches and thefts in 2009. Vargas pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in prison.
Case: U.S. v. Furminger, No. 15-10093