Should NY Convictions Based on Work of Corrupt Cops Stand?

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After Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced they were moving to dismiss nearly 200 convictions involving a veteran narcotics detective who was indicted for lying under oath in 2019, a coalition of 11 wrongful conviction and public defender organizations are challenging the validity of hundreds of other convictions going back decades after identifying 22 additional NYPD officers whose misconduct, they assert in a letter, merits the dismissal of all convictions in which they played an essential role, reports Gothamist. The 22 have all been convicted for lying, corruption and other forms of misconduct and nearly all have since left the force. But many of the arrests they helped make, which led to the convictions of hundreds of New York City residents, remain on the books.

Many of the officers named in the letter were convicted for crimes of dishonesty, such as perjury or planting drugs. Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and an adjunct professor at John Jay, notes that mass conviction purges may be appealing to prosecutors because they do not require labor-intensive case-by-case reviews. But, he cautions, not all of the cases tied to officers named in the letter should be summarily wiped. Instead, less definitive cases should prompt a review for other acts of misconduct. Such analyses require tracking down potential witnesses, tracking down evidence in years-old cases, and other time-intensive tactics. Critics argue this approach is unfair to those dealing with the consequences of convictions right now.

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