ACLU files suit in drug planting case

    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joel Barnes – a Camden man who says police planted drugs on him.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Joel Barnes, a Camden man who says police planted drugs on him.

    Barnes was arrested and convicted in 2008 of drug possession charges.

    He spent over a year in jail before being exonerated when police officers involved in his arrest pleaded guilty to crimes including planting evidence.

    “I’m angry in a way. I lost time for something that I didn’t do. At the same time, it’s a good feeling because that whole nightmare is over now and I’m moving forward with my life.”

    Barnes learned of the officers’ confessions while he was in prison over the phone from his mother. He matched their names to those in his report papers, and contacted the ACLU.

    Barnes is seeking monetary compensation, but says his main motivation is institutional reform to prevent future injustices.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.