A bombshell report in the Philadelphia Inquirer alleges Philadelphia detectives dangled sex and drugs in front of inmates in order for them to cooperate in different murder cases—regardless of the truth of their testimonies. Current and former inmates told the paper how detectives Ernest Gilbert and Larry Gerrard would bring them into the Police Administration Building, known as the Roundhouse, and allow them to have sex with girls in interview rooms. “We went in an interrogation room. They came in with four or five files. And they said, ‘If you will help us, we can help you,’” said Franklin Lee, a former inmate who was paroled in 2019. As a result, according to some of the informants, there are men serving life sentences for crimes they didn’t commit. “This comes down to the reliability and the integrity of evidence that’s being offered in criminal court,” Rebecca Brown, policy director for the Innocence Project, told the Inquirer. “It is impossible to evaluate that evidence without a full picture of the informant’s history and perceived or real leniency.”
The practice—labeled “sex and lies” by some lawyers—has drawn criticism toward the use of jailhouse informants, which has already been considered by prosecutors to be a last-resort measure for legal strategies.