90 New York Convictions to be Erased After Narcotics Officer Charged With Perjury

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After former narcotics detective Joseph Franco was charged with perjury in Manhattan in 2019 for lying about drug sales that videos showed never happened, prosecutors will announce Wednesday that as many as 90 convictions that he helped secure in Brooklyn will be thrown out, reports the New York Times. Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, will ask judges to dismiss years-old drug cases in which Mr. Franco served as a crucial witness. The office did not uncover new evidence of possible misconduct — and none of the people involved still remain behind bars. But Gonzalez said he had lost faith in Franco’s credibility.

The move represents one of the largest dismissals of convictions in the state over concerns about official misconduct. Franco was charged in 2019 with 26 criminal counts, including perjury and official misconduct, but has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. Nearly all of the people whose convictions that Gonzalez is seeking to dismiss were charged with drug-related crimes, including many for low-level possession offenses. The group — mostly men arrested between 2004 and 2011 — spanned generations: Several were under 20 years old at the time of their arrests, and dozens were older than 40. After charges were brought against Franco in Manhattan, it was not immediately apparent that the detective also had worked in Brooklyn, Gonzalez said. The office eventually pulled together a list of cases Franco was involved in and flagged those that could not have been prosecuted without his accounts.

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