Prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York last week asked a judge to dismiss 378 criminal convictions – mostly low-level drug and traffic offenses – from 1999 to 2017 that relied on 13 New York Police Department officers who were later convicted of crimes related to their official duties, the New York Times reports. If approved, it would be the largest mass dismissal of convictions in the nation, according to the National Registry of Exonerations outlined by the Times.
Last year, the Queens district attorney moved to dismiss 60 convictions while the Bronx district attorney vacated more than 250 convictions that relied on the work of one officer, Joseph Franco, a former narcotics detective, who was charged with perjury and other offenses in connection with his testimony with prosecutors and undercover work. In all, the total is expected to rise to 496, the report says. Franco was fired and awaiting trial. Franco was also involved in the cases in Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan that district attorneys have vacated or are seeking to vacate, the report says.
None of the 13 officers in the Brooklyn cases are still with the force and all have been convicted of crimes that they committed while undercover and street-level cases. Charles Linehan, a former Manhattan prosecutor who has run the Brooklyn district attorney’s conviction review unit since January described the crimes as “quick hits with little oversight.”
Of the Brooklyn cases, 331 were misdemeanor convictions and 47 felonies and about half of them involved four officers who were involved in a corruption scandal more than a decade ago involving the police department’s narcotics operations in Brooklyn. In that case, officers were found to have planted evidence, falsified records, and rewarded informants with drugs.
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