Panel named to review trial convictions involving retired Brooklyn detective
Former Brooklyn judge named as chair
Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes on Monday announced the creation of an independent panel that will review the integrity of jury trial convictions involving Detective Louis Scarcella. The 12-member panel includes former federal and New York State judges, academicians and attorneys.
The D.A.’s Conviction Integrity Unit began an internal investigation of the 1991 murder conviction of David Ranta. Based on their findings, Ranta’s conviction was vacated earlier this year. The investigation revealed allegations of improprieties on the part of the investigating detective, Louis Scarcella. D.A. Hynes is now investigating 40 convictions, involving 50 defendants, from the 1980s and 1990s, in which Scarcella played a role. The panel will consult and advise on all cases currently being investigated by experienced assistant district attorneys.
In May, the New York Times reported that Scarcella had been accused of manipulating investigations and using faulty witnesses to secure arrests and subsequent convictions. One of the larger cases handled by Scarcella was the David Ranta case.
As reported by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in March, Ranta who spent more than two decades behind bars, was freed by a judge on Thursday after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the shooting of a Brooklyn rabbi. With the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office acknowledging that the case had been “significantly eroded,” Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Miriam Cyrulnik vacated the judgment and murder indictment against David Ranta, ordering him a free man.