In the third of a three-part series on criminal-case delays in New York City’s Bronx borough, the New York Times describes the case of Chad Hooks, a man in his 20s who spent nearly four years in jail before his trial for murder. By the time the case was tried, the lead police detective, since retired, could not remember if he had been to the scene of the shooting that night.
He could not remember the details of a lineup in the case. He could not remember whether a notation in his patrol book back in 2009 — “heavy Spanish kid” — might have meant an overweight Hispanic youth had been identified as the killer. “His memory is not so solid,” Judge Ethan Greenberg said from the bench. Another key witness could not identify the defendant after so much time had passed. A jury eventually acquitted Hooks, who finally was released and then was arrested again on a drug charge.