We Have to Clean Up the Glut of Wrongful Convictions

 
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
 
#  #  #
 
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.

 

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7 thoughts on “We Have to Clean Up the Glut of Wrongful Convictions

  1. NY Jewishweek editorial:

    http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/editorial/restoring-confidence-brooklyn-das-office
    ,,,
    Fortunately for Kellner, whose indictment wreaked havoc on his and his family’s life, not to mention the small community of Orthodox anti-sex abuse advocates and victims, his case was dismissed before an unjust plea deal or verdict could be reached —a fate that wrongfully convicted Brooklyn men like Jabbar Collins, David Ranta and William Lopez were not so lucky to be spared. However, if Thompson is serious about restoring public confidence in the Brooklyn criminal justice system, we believe it is incumbent on him to conduct a full investigation into just how and why Sam Kellner came to be indicted in the first place. In addition, the probe must hold to account those within Kellner’s own community, the district attorney’s office and the wider legal community who were responsible for this perversion of the criminal justice system.

    The people of Brooklyn — and most of all its vulnerable child victims — deserve nothing less.

      • It grinds on. Tradtionally, NYC has not settled until the last moment before trial. However, the city comptroller, has settled a few cases without being under that pressure. So maybe it will be the new pattern. Too soon to tell. However, the case, I hear remains very solid and the new DA means some more cooperation by the office of the DA in discover. What is not clear is how much evidence was “lost” or destroyed before the changeover.

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