Dirty Yonkers Cops Convicted
In a strange twist of fate, two Yonkers Police Officers pled guilty today to perjury in the Westchester County Court in White Plains. All to often in Westchester County, the prosecutors look the other way, even when faced with glaringly false testimony by police officers in both Court, in support of search warrants and in preparing accusatory instruments such as misdemeanor informations, supporting depositions and felony complaints. Criminal defense lawyers in Westchester know all too well, that police fabrication and stretching of the truth is rampant and that such misconduct often goes unpunished, which only encourages officers to repeat the conduct and sends the message to other police officers that there is no penalty for twisting facts. Our criminal justice system is based upon the underlying principle that justice is obtained through fair presentation of the facts and when police officers knowingly manipulate and twist facts or even when they fail to offer a full and complete version of what really happened, they cause the integrity of the process to be corrupted.
Two Yonkers police officers were apparently caught so red handed in committing perjury in connection with an application for a search warrant that it was impossible to look the other way. Yonkers police officer Neil Vera pled guilty to two counts of official misconduct and detective Christian Koch pled guilty to perjury in the second degree. The charges were filed after evidence came to light that these officers falsified a search warrant application, in which the officers claimed to be looking for drugs. Apparently, in reliance upon the officers misrepresentations, a Yonkers City Court Judge issued a search warrant. In connection with a search that led the to the death of the intended target of their misconduct. One of the officers went so far as to ask another individual to lie to investigators and the internal affairs officers who were investigating the incident. More specifically, the detective asked an individual to falsely represent that he had done a controlled by of narcotics from the target, even though no such buy had actually occurred. The Yonkers police department has a reputation for being dirty and this is one more unfortunate example. Hopefully other officers will learn that they need to play by the rules.
Obviously, our Westchester County criminal defense lawyers applaud the prosecution of these officers and can only hope that a dent in the corruption was made. At a minimum, these two officers will no longer be able to set up people and at least, these two officers will not cause any more innocent people to be sent to jail. They certainly deserve any punishment they get. Although at this point, it is not yet known whether they will actually see jail or just get probation, since it has not yet been publically disclosed as to whether the plea was made pursuant to a plea bargain, with a sentence promise. In any event, jail for these officers would certainly be appropriate, so they appreciate the severity of damage, they were trying to cause to a person’s life.