A Syracuse police detective has pleaded guilty to perjury after an investigation into his conduct involving a drug case.
James Mills was arraigned in Syracuse City Court Monday morning on a charge of third degree perjury, to which he pleaded guilty. According to Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Mills will receive a one year conditional discharge when he is formally sentenced on February 2nd.
Mills admitted to falsely testifying before county and federal Grand Juries about a drug case in what has been described as a "misguided attempt to protect an informant." The incident took place in August of 2007. Fitzpatrick says Mills lied about the informant's role in helping to set up the drug bust.
Though Mills was trying to protect the identity of the informant, Syracuse Police Chief Gary Miguel says, "you have to play by the rules."
As a result of Mills TMs plea, the District Attorney TMs Office sent out 261 letters to attorneys representing defendants in felony and misdeameanor cases that involved Mills. Fitzpatrick says that he does not believe any of those cases involve perjury, but he believes some of the defendants will try to reopen their cases. Fitzpatrick says he will review each request but adds, "to date we have not found a single instance where we think someone was unjustifiably convicted of a crime... that didn't deserve to be."
Prior to his guilty plea, Mills had been placed on administrative leave with pay pending an investigation of his conduct.
Mills was the 2008 Syracuse Police Benevolent Association Valor award winner and also won the PBA Merit honor in 2007.