Original Case Details
A Detroit man is free after spending 8 years behind bars for a cocaine conviction that he was wrongfully convicted of. Darrell Chancellor is now fighting back as he has filed a federal lawsuit against a former member of the Detroit Narcotics team for framing him. This former narcotics officer, Stephen Geelhood, is currently under investigation for allegedly framing innocent people and taking bribes from known drug dealers. Chancellor accuses Geelhood of lying in affidavit where Geelhood claimed that he saw Chancellor selling drugs. The affidavit got a search warrant approved, which resulted in the raid of Chancellor’s mother’s house. Cocaine was found at the home and Chancellor was sentenced to a minimum 14 years and three months in state prison as a habitual offender, fourth offense. Chancellor served 8 years of that sentence before the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Conviction Integrity Unit realized that he had been wrongfully convicted based on a false affidavit, which resulted in Chancellor’s exoneration.
The federal lawsuit that Chancellor filed against Geelhood states, in part:
In late 2011, then Detroit narcotics team member, Stephen Geelhood is alleged to have filed a false affidavit stating that and informant told him that Chancellor was soon to receive a big shipment of heroin. Geelhood also falsely stated that he watched a man who looked like Chancellor participate in a drug transaction. Based on this affidavit, a search warrant was signed which authorized the search of Chancellor’s mother’s house. Chancellor wasn’t home, but Geelhood also claimed to have found and seized between 450 grams and 999 grams of cocaine. The lawsuit claims that Geelhood acted as the government’s star witness, falsely claiming the information in his affidavit, as well as the seizure of the cocaine. Chancellor was convicted at a bench trial in front of Wayne County Circuit Judge Daniel Hathaway. Hathaway, in his giving his ruling, explained that the verdict came down to the reliability of Officer Geelhood’s testimony and identification.
What Happens Next?
Chancellor’s lawsuit seeks in excess of $75,000. The case will now continue in U.S. District Court where a variety of settlements can be reached, or a full-blown trial can occur. These cases are civil in nature, not criminal. Former Detroit narcotics team member Stephen Geelhood is not currently facing any criminal charges, just a lawsuit. Geelhood is at the center of an internal investigation which could have a bearing on the result of the case that Chancellor filed against him. Geelhood is still an active Detroit Police Officer. The now-former Detroit Narcotics Section was disbanded back in 2014 due to a steady stream of different corruption scandals. The bulk of the current internal investigation at the Detroit Police Department is focused on Geelhood’s former unit. Multiple former Detroit cops have already been convicted for various corruption crimes; they include former officers Bryan Watson, Arthur Leavells, and David Hansberry. These three men were convicted back in 2017 for their roles in a criminal conspiracy. They conspired to rip off drug dealers and steal money and drugs that they had seized in various raids. The magnifying glass on the illegal acts of police officers has never been bigger since the tragic death of George Floyd. The illegal actions of officers are being brought out to the forefront, and officers are slowly being held more accountable.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.