New York Convictions Overturned Because of Police Misconduct- By Michael Joseph on May 13, 2023

 

THE MANHATTAN CONVICTIONS 

In an important move towards justice, the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, recently announced that his office will be seeking to vacate 316 convictions related to crooked NYPD cops. For years, people have been fighting for the rights of those who have been wrongfully convicted due to the corrupt actions of certain police officers. Now, this long-awaited step has finally been taken. The vacating of these convictions is crucial in ensuring that justice is served, and the wrongs of the past are righted. This blog post will delve into the reasons behind the decision and why it is a significant step forward towards a more equitable legal system.

The move to vacate these convictions comes after a thorough investigation by Bragg's office into the role of crooked NYPD cops in wrongful convictions. Between 1996 and 2017, these officers were involved in cases where those who were innocent were tied up in the legal system and sentenced for crimes they did not commit. This step will free many who have been languishing in prison for far too long.

The vacating of convictions is crucial in the fight against wrongful convictions and the prevention of future injustices. In the United States, the criminal justice system disproportionately targets communities of color, leading to numerous wrongful convictions. The actions of the crooked NYPD cops only exacerbate this inequality, and it is great to see that the Manhattan District Attorney's office is taking steps to right those wrongs.
 

THE WESTCHESTER CONVICTIONS

The Westchester County's District Attorney has made a landmark decision to vacate numerous drug convictions due to potential police misconduct. In Westchester County, both pending and drug cases and drug cases where there has been a conviction are being impacted because it has been exposed that some detective testimony has been misleading or inaccurate. Prosecutors and defense attorneys alike have been raising questions about the validity of certain detective and confidential informant testimony, which could potentially lead to wrongful convictions due to false statements. The Westchester County District Attorney's conviction review unit recommended vacating 27 convicitions based upon fabricated or exaggerated testimony of Mount Vernon Detectives after an investigation into the Mount Vernon Narcotics Unit. 

This issue has become more prevalent in recent years as law enforcement has come under increasing scrutiny for its use of undercover officers and informants. In some cases, detectives have exaggerated the evidence against suspects to make a stronger case for the prosecution. This practice has been used in other areas of law enforcement as well, but has become especially prevalent in drug cases due to the high stakes involved. This follows an investigation into the testimony of one detective, whose credibility was called into question after allegations of false and misleading statements in the courtroom. The DA's office concluded that there was "an unacceptable level of risk" that these cases may have been affected by improper conduct on the part of this detective and as such chose to take action. While this is a positive step towards addressing police misconduct, it is likely only the beginning in terms of tackling this important issue. 

Our Westchester criminal defense lawyers know how difficult it is to defend a drug charge where detectives and confidential informants are lying. Up until recently, criminal defense attorneys in New York did not get meainingful discovery until a trial was actually beginning which made it impossible to do an adequate investigation. Literally criminal defense attorneys were being handed video evidence and extensive documents while picking a jury. to make matters worse in drug sale cases, the main evidence was based upon the word of confidential informants, who were either being paid or were avoiding jail on their own charges, which provided a strong motivation for these already morally flexible witnesses to lie. In other words setting up other people, whether innocent or not, provided a direct benefit to these confidential informants.  To place the accused in an even more precarious position, the Courts often prevented criminal defense lawyers from obtaining the records of confidential informants, which shielded exposure of the truth from the defense. 

Our Westchester police misconduct lawyers have handled cases against the City of Mount Vernon where officers arrested and strip searched people who were just walking down the street. Even when the police strip searched our client and found nothing, they claimed it was based on the information provided by confidential informant and who claimed that our client had drugs in his underwear. In our case, even though the Judge expressed skepticism and that the supposed information that the search was based on seemed circumstantially suspect, the Court still blocked our Westchester false arrest attorneys from getting access to the confidential informant's file or taking the confidential informant's deposition. Then the Supreme Court of Westchester dismissed the case, based upon the assumed reliability of the questionable confidential informant, as a justification for finding that the search was supported by probable cause. Thankfully, our tenacious Westchester false arrest attorneys did not give up and we appealed to the Appellate Division, who reversed the lower Court and reinstated the case.  Our Westchester false arrest lawyers and White Plains cirminal defense attorneys know that as long as the Courts continue to allow the police to operate in secrecty, without any real oversight, perjury and police misconduct will continue to result in wrongful convictions. 

An obivious question that those whose convictions will be thrown out, are probably asking themselves  "Do I have a lawsuit for being wrongfully convicted". Our Westchester wrongful conviction lawyers know that if you were innocent and were convicted of a crime becuase the police lied and based your prosecution on confidential informants that were lying, the answer is probably yes.  If you served jail time and were actually innocent, you can file a claim in the Court of Claims where your conviction was vacated, so long as you were convicted and did not plead guilty. You can also sue the City and the officers for false arrest, malicious prosecution under both New York Law and Federal Law under 42 USC 1983, as well as for Due Process Violations. Our Westchester wrongful conviction lawyers have decades of experience in representing people who have been wrongfully accused, wrongfully prosecuted and wrongfully convicted. 

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The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC

The Law Office of Michael H. Joseph, PLLC, has been helping injured victims recover compensation for their injuries for over a decade. Our attorneys are members of several prestigious organizations, including: 

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