Brooklyn DA Seeks to Vacate Three Half-Siblings Murder Convictions Tied to Former, Disgraced Detective, Louis Scarcella, notes Parker Waichman LLP

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The three half-brothers’ trials involved the use of evidence that has been put into question given its connection with Scarcella, who has been involved in a growing number of alleged wrongful convictions.

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“When people are wrongly convicted of crimes and punished for those crimes, particularly at the hands of unethical authority figures, a trend of travesty is put in place,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP.

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm long dedicated to protecting the rights of individuals is disappointed in the growing number of alleged wrongful convictions being tied to a disgraced former detective and a former district attorney’s office and pleased that progress is being made to review the questionable cases and free innocent men.

In the most recent cases, three half-brothers, Alvena Jennette, Robert Hill, and Darryl Austin, are the first to be exonerated as part of a review of at least 57 trial convictions conducted by the Brooklyn district attorney office, according to a May 6, 2014 The New York Times report. The DA’s office will seek to have the alleged wrongful murder convictions vacated for the three half-brothers who were the victims of Scarpella’s questionable investigative practices. ‏People v. Jennette, 81 N.Y.2d 887, 613 N.E.2d 981; People v. Austin, 168 A.D.2d 502, 562 N.Y.S.2d 745; People v. Hill, 79 A.D.2d 661, 437 N.Y.S.2d 921

If the request to vacate is granted, the three men will be the first wrongly convicted individuals associated with Scarcella to be exonerated since the DA’s office initiated its review of convictions obtained through Scarcella’s investigative work, according to The New York Times.

Scarcella was also tied to the alleged wrongful conviction of David Ranta, who served 23 years of a nearly 38-year prison sentence for a 1990 murder he allegedly did not commit. Ranta filed a claim that was settled by the New York City’s comptroller’s office with the City of New York for $6.4 million, according to a February 21, 2014 CBS/AP report.

The former detective has been blamed for his involvement in scores of alleged wrongful convictions, manufacturing confessions, witness coercion, and neglecting to turn in exculpatory evidence, according to The New York Times, which also discovered that the detective used the same woman, a now-deceased crack addict, as a witness in six murder cases. This particular witness testified against the three siblings. ‏

Hill, 53, who has been in state prison since 1988 and suffers from multiple sclerosis, is the only one of the half-brothers who will be freed; he is just weeks away from parole. Jenette, 50, was released on parole in 2007, and Austin was 37 when he died in prison 14 years ago; he will receive his exoneration posthumously, and his mother will stand in for him in court, The New York Times wrote. ‏

Sundhe Moses, 37, was also investigated by Scarcella and was found guilty of the murder of a four-year-old girl in 1995. Moses alleged Scarcella beat him, wrote out the confession, and forced him to put his signature on the paper, smudging the signature. According to a Nov. 2, 2013 NY Times article, Moses was granted parole in November, 2013 after doubts were raised about the tactics used by the detective who interrogated him.

“When people are wrongly convicted of crimes and punished for those crimes, particularly at the hands of unethical authority figures, a trend of travesty is put in place,” said Gary Falkowitz, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman LLP. “There is nothing that can replace lost time and freedom, broken careers, and the loss of loved ones.”

Brooklyn DA Kenneth P. Thompson unseated former DA Charles J. Hynes in January after a 24-year run. The DA said he would clean up the DA’s office as part of his campaign promises and began his term with 57 of Scarcella’s cases and about 24 more, non-Scarcella cases, all involving potential wrongful convictions that require review. Another 10 cases have been added, bringing the total to about 90, The New York Times reported.

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal consultations to victims who suffered injustice, including wrongful convictions. If you or a loved one were forced into a false conviction, were wrongfully convicted, or spent time in jail or prison for a crime you or your loved one did not commit, please contact the Firm by visiting Free case evaluations are also available by calling 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

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