Attorneys for Glynn County Police Lt. David Haney filed a motion Friday seeking to intervene in the criminal case against Gary Allen Whittle. That’s the case that gave rise to an order by Judge Roger Lane which stated there was enough evidence to believe Haney wasn’t telling the truth regarding actions by officers with the Glynn-Brunswick Narcotics Enforcement Team, and statements he made regarding GBNET investigations from Nov. 16, 2017, onward are questionable.
The motion states the findings of fact, to which the district attorney’s and public defender’s offices agreed, unconstitutionally damaged Haney’s professional reputation and occupational position in the finding of a Giglio impairment. Law that came out of the matter Giglio v. United States, as the motion notes, allows a court to “issue an order requiring the disclosure of untruthfulness by law enforcement officers about material matters.”
In his affidavit, Haney said, “I immediately knew this sentence was a ‘death order’ to my career. I understand from Giglio v. United States, that a court may order disclosure of certain information that may be discoverable if there is a finding that an officer has been willfully untruthful about a material matter. I was absolutely not willfully untruthful about any matter.”
He also asserts that the order doesn’t specifically point to anything he said as willfully untruthful.
Haney said, “Not only was I not afforded an opportunity to defend myself or be heard — due process — before such a damning ruling was made, I don’t even know specifically what allegations to defend myself against as I have not been charged with anything and I do not have notice of any alleged untruthful statement. I have had no opportunity to refute or challenge the adverse finding in the order.”
In the motion, the attorneys describe the process of what the order accomplished as “being ‘Giglioed,’” calling such a label as an official branding of an officer as untruthful. Further, they assert there are due process requirements in putting officers on a Giglio list, requirements not satisfied by the court.
The motion includes language describing that Haney was repeatedly asked questions about conversations that occurred 68 weeks prior, and he “did not answer definitively any questions that he could not remember the details of due to the lapse in time.”
What Haney could and could not remember became an issue when he was on the stand — following his testimony, it became a topic of conversation among those watching the hearing. The motion contains with it a transcription of Haney’s superior court testimony.
Haney said some manner of “I’m not sure,” “I can’t recall,” “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know” around 35 times during direct and cross examination.
Haney left GBNET in May 2017, and described how busy his worklife was during the period of time most under discussion, in relation to his knowledge of alleged acts committed by GBNET officers.
“Obviously, I was very busy with a new job, a training budget,” Haney said to Assistant District Attorney John Johnson. “I’ve had multiple conversations. Every time I walk down the hall, I’d have 10 conversations with people. The content of any conversation that I’ve had during that time frame or really many conversations I’ve had since, I cannot recall the specific content of any — of these conversations back that long ago.”
In regard to ever hearing anything about former Investigator James Cassada’s sexual activity with confidential informants, Haney said, “As you’ve asked and I’ve answered several times, I cannot recall any specifics and I do not recall ever receiving information or knowing about any allegations such as that.
“The only allegation, the best I can remember — not allegation, but the only issue relating to this was an alcohol problem that was affecting his marriage.”
Haney didn’t talk to the investigator from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, testifying that he’s refused to talk to them for the past 15 years.
“At no point in my 15-year career have I waived my rights and privileges, and me, just like any government employees, has the same right as that defendant sitting there not to talk to the government unless it’s a very specific circumstance of Garrity,” Haney said.
The reference here is to law derived from Garrity v. New Jersey, which deals with rights held by law enforcement officers during internal investigations.
Haney’s attorneys argue that the order as it relates to him, used testimony “to imply impropriety and dishonesty” when it wasn’t there.
Also, the motion notes Officer Dustin Simpson’s change of story, and that GCPD Chief of Staff Brian Scott went to public defender Bill Johnson and told him of this changed story, but Simpson wasn’t called back to the stand to testify. The argument made in the motion is that Simpson’s clarification was “blatantly omitted.”
District Attorney Jackie Johnson, in her questioning of Glynn County Police Chief John Powell, alleged that Simpson changing his story was the result of multiple attempts to reach that goal by police leadership.
During that hearing, it was mentioned several times that the interview Scott held with Simpson, which led to a changed story, was the third such interview with Simpson, something not done with other witnesses in the internal affairs investigation.
The district attorney subsequently asked the chief if he was aware of the state law against influencing a witness, and regarding Scott contacting the defense, whether the chief was knowledgeable of the crime of suborning perjury.
In their conclusion, Haney’s attorneys state, “Police officers, like most everyone else, make mistakes, forget things, get confused, and articulate statements with discrepancies. The determinative test is whether knowingly incorrect information was willfully communicated with an intent to deceive. Nothing, as it relates to Lt. Haney or his testimony comes close to rising to the level of willfully communicated false information.
“The Giglio finding alone as to Lt. Haney was invalid. There was no finding as to truthfulness or materiality, and there were egregious omissions in the findings of fact.”
Representing Haney are James Wright III of McDonough, through the Southern States Police Benevolent Association, and local defense attorney Alan David Tucker.