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NYC prosecutor drops over 300 convictions tied to officers found guilty of crimes

June 7, 2023 Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press
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Manhattan’s top prosecutor on Tuesday disavowed over 300 convictions tied to police officers who were themselves found guilty of crimes, the latest in over 1,000 dismissals citywide of cases connected to officers who were charged or convicted.

The latest abandoned convictions, almost all misdemeanors, date back as far as 1996. Each involves one of nine officers who were later convicted of on-the-job offenses — among them taking bribes, illegally selling guns, lying under oath and planting drugs on suspects — and are no longer on the force.

The cases put more than 50 people behind bars and imposed fines on 130, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

“We cannot stand by convictions that are built on cases brought by members of law enforcement who have violated the law,” Bragg, a Democrat, said in a statement after 308 misdemeanor cases were thrown out Tuesday. A similar proceeding was planned for eight felony cases Wednesday.

Since the start of 2021, Bragg and at least three of New York City’s four other district attorneys — in Brooklynthe Bronx and Queens — have arranged the dismissal of a total of more than 1,200 cases connected to officers who had been convicted or charged, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press.

The dismissals began with drug convictions built by a former narcotics detective, Joseph Franco, who was charged with perjury — until the case against him was thrown out, mid-trial, this January. The case collapsed when Bragg’s office acknowledged failing to turn over evidence as required to his defense.

By then, prosecutors in BrooklynManhattan and the Bronx had gotten hundreds of Franco-related convictions thrown out, and several public defense and exoneration-advocacy groups had written a letter urging the city’s DAs to do likewise with cases involving 22 other officers.

Twenty had been convicted of crimes and two others engaged in serious misconduct relating to their duties, according to the legal groups. Their list included the nine officers linked to the cases that Bragg is getting tossed out this week.

One of the letter-writers, Elizabeth Felber, of the Legal Aid Society, applauded the dismissals and urged Bragg and his fellow DAs to keep going.

“The same lens used on our clients charged with criminal conduct must be applied to those in law enforcement,” she said in a statement.

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