Juror Criticizes Forensic Evidence Handling in NYC Cops’ Acquittal


Melinda Hernandez, a member of the jury that last week acquitted two New York police officers, is distressed by a process that she felt left her no choice but to vote not guilty. Justice, she tells Women’s eNews, was not served. “As a feminist it really challenged my values to vote not guilty,” Hernandez said. In particular, she was concerned about the way forensic evidence–in a case concerning police as perpetrators–went through the New York Police Department lab and was then sent to New York Medical Examiners lab. “I think they should have hired an independent person to collect the evidence,” Hernandez says. “There’s just common sense behind that.”

While acquitted of the rape charge, the two officers–Kenneth Moreno, 43, and Franklin Mata, 29–were convicted of official misconduct and fired from the force the same day. They could face to two years behind bars. Had they been found guilty of rape, the pair could have been in jail for up to 25 years.

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