VICTIMS OF FORMER BROOKLYN DETECTIVE LOUIS SCARCELLA SEEK FASTER REVIEW OF DECADES OLD CASES
SEEK FUNDING FOR INDEPENDENT COMMISSION TO REVIEW CONVICTIONS
Ask NYPD for Procedures to Prevent False Confessions and Witness Misidentification
Victims of former Brooklyn Det. Louis Scarcella, along with families of other men wrongfully convicted, hold news conference on the steps of New York’s City Hall on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 1 pm. They are asking new Brooklyn DA Thompson to fast-track Scarcella related cases and other questionable convictions by former Brooklyn DA Hynes’s office over the past 25 years.
Derrick Hamilton (21 years), Sundhe Moses (18 years), Kevin Smith (27 years) and Anthony Yarborough (23 years) will speak about the factors that led to their wrongful convictions.
Marty Tankleff, a false confession exoneree, will speak about the need to record interrogations to prevent false confessions. Jesse Friedman (Capturing the Friedmans), whose innocence case was rejected after a three year “conviction review” by Nassau DA Kathleen Rice, will discuss the inherent bias of these reviews. Advocate Lonnie Soury, civil rights attorney Ilya Novo, and Pastor Grayling Ferrand, will also speak.
Families of Scarcella victims still imprisoned include Shabaka Shakur, Hector Lopez and James Earl Jenkins, Nelson Cruz, and Robert Hill. They will join families of other wrongfully incarcerated including Danny Rincon, Jon-Adrian Velazquez, Johnnie Hincapie, Jermaine Archer, Lorenzo Johnson and Richard Diguglielmo.
The wrongfully convicted are asking for the establishment of an independent conviction review process modeled on the Dallas DA’s office in which case reviews are transparent and work product between defense and prosecutors is collaborative.
They are calling on the NYPD to institute universally accepted methods to help prevent wrongful convictions by recording all custodial interrogations of suspects and witnesses to prevent false confessions and false testimony, as well as “double blind” procedures in live police lineups and photo arrays, to prevent witness misidentification.
WHO: Victims of Det. Louis Scarcella and Families of Wrongfully Convicted
WHAT: Call on DA Thompson to Fast Track Scarcella Cases
Institute Model Dallas DA Conviction Review
NYPD to Record Interrogations and Double Blind Witness Line Ups
WHERE: Steps of New York City Hall
WHEN: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 1 pm
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Derrick Hamilton was sentenced to life in prison after Detective Scarcella allegedly coerced an eyewitness to change her testimony to implicate him, and Brooklyn prosecutors hid the fact. Paroled, Hamilton recently won a landmark appellate ruling reopening his case based upon actual innocence. He said, “It was almost 25 years ago that Scarcella came to my business in New Haven, kissed me on the cheek like they do in the mafia movies and said ‘he was sending me to prison for murder because he felt I did not do enough time for an unrelated arrest.’ Detective Louis Scarcella was true to his word, he coerced false testimony from a young woman who subsequently recanted, but it was too late. I went to prison for 21 years.”
Det. Scarcella did not only allegedly beat Sundhe Moses into a false confession, he engaged in witness ID tampering. Mr. Moses said, “For 25 years, we have brought forth evidence of wrongdoing involving Detective Scarcella and Brooklyn DA Hynes’s office. This was not one case, but scores of cases with evidence of coerced confessions, witness tampering and lying in court. Nevertheless, Hynes fought tooth and nail to maintain these convictions.”
Kevin Smith served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Kevin “Renny” Smith and Calvin “Divine” Lee were convicted of the murder of Gary Vandorn. There was no forensic evidence that connected either Smith or Lee to the murder. The sole witness against them was promised that an unrelated perjury charge would be dismissed if he recanted his former exculpatory testimony. Detective Scarella was one of the lead detectives in the case. He falsely reported that Lee implicated himself and Kevin to the murder. Smith says Scarcella lied on the witness stand during his trial.