In rapid-fire dismissals of old narcotics convictions, a Philadelphia judge Friday overturned 51 cases brought by a tainted Philadelphia drug unit.

All the dismissals involved suspects arrested by the six officers from the citywide narcotic squad who were acquitted in May of federal corruption charges.

Despite the acquittals, the District Attorney's Office agreed to reverse the drug cases.

Common Pleas Court President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper took a few seconds with each case, working from a long list dating to 2005.

Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser contend that they were libeled by accusations that they robbed and extorted drug dealers.

A former drug officer who worked with them, Jeffrey Walker, was caught in the act of stealing from a suspect and pleaded guilty in a separate federal corruption case.

So far, 167 suspects arrested by Walker have had their convictions overturned.

With Friday's cases, the total of overturned cases reached 699 for the seven officers, according to public defender Bradley S. Bridge, who has spearheaded the effort for defense lawyers.

Bridge said several hundred more convictions involving the six acquitted officers could be overturned.

Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said Friday's dismissals were "in the interest of justice."

Assistant District Attorney Robin Godfrey, who handles the prosecution's review of the cases that will be dismissed, said the court has become "more efficient" in dismissing cases, now taking just seconds.

Walker is in prison. The six acquitted officers were returned to the force. One recently resigned after failing a drug test and another was promoted to sergeant.

The next mass dismissal of cases is scheduled for April 8.

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