Brooklyn DA Dismisses 378 Convictions, That Relied on 13 Officers Later Convicted of Misconduct

vacate and dismiss 47 felony convictions and 331 misdemeanor convictions
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Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez Wednesday announced that his Conviction Review Unit will be asking the Court to vacate and dismiss 47 felony convictions and 331 misdemeanor convictions that were directly based on the work of 13 former New York City Police Department officers who were later found guilty of crimes that were committed while on duty. A review by Brooklyn’s CRU did not uncover misconduct, but the District Attorney has lost confidence in cases where these officers served as essential witness, i.e., cases that could not have been prosecuted without them. This is the sixth largest mass dismissal of convictions in U.S. history, according to data collected by the National Registry of Exonerations.

District Attorney Gonzalez said, “These former police officers were found to have committed serious misconduct that directly relates to their official job duties, calling into question the integrity of every arrest they have made. A thorough review by my Conviction Review Unit identified those cases in which their testimony was essential to proving guilt, and I will now move to dismiss those convictions as I no longer have confidence in the integrity of the evidence that underpinned them. Credibility and honesty are at the heart of the justice system, and we cannot improve community trust without adhering to the highest ethical standards.”

The District Attorney’s Office will be asking Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to begin dismissing the felony convictions. The process of dismissing the misdemeanor convictions will begin in Brooklyn Criminal Court later this month.

The dismissals will be made pursuant to a writ of error coram nobis that states that prosecutors “have not identified any information or evidence indicative of innocence or of fabricated evidence and that probable cause existed for defendant’s arrest, but that, nonetheless, in the interests of justice, which includes enhancing community trust in the criminal justice system and the proper preservation and prioritization of limited prosecutorial and judicial resources and pursuant to prosecutorial discretion” the DA’s Office agrees to vacate the convictions and dismiss the charges. Defendants will not be entitled to refunds of fees or fines.

The review is an outgrowth of the District Attorney’s decision in April 2021 to dismiss 90 convictions that relied on the work of former Detective Joseph Franco, who’s been indicted in Manhattan for multiple perjuries. That decision not only led other city district attorneys to follow suit, but also sparked a review of past cases that were handled by other police officers who were similarly charged and convicted of misconduct that directly related to their job duties.