The innocent can wind up in prison. The guilty can be set free. But New York City prosecutors who withhold evidence, tolerate false testimony or commit other abuses almost never see their careers damaged.
A review of 50 Brooklyn murder prosecutions could free men from prison and ruin the reputation of the former detective who helped make the cases. Some insist the prosecutors who worked alongside the accused detective should not be spared scrutiny.
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes will be deposed by the lawyer for a man who has accused Hynes of running a prosecutor’s office where misconduct is condoned, even rewarded. Hynes, who has denied the allegation, had sought to avoid answering questions under oath, but a federal judge ruled that he must.
Alexina Simon was picked up as a witness in a minor criminal case. Prosecutors in Queens held her over two days without a lawyer. Now, she wants to make them pay for what she says was misconduct.
Jabbar Collins spent 16 years in prison for murder before he won his freedom, and with it a chance to take on the man who put him behind bars. Collins has accused Michael Vecchione, a senior Brooklyn prosecutor, of repeated acts of misconduct, and two federal judges indicated they think he may have a case. ProPublica examines Vecchione’s career, the allegations against him, and what strikes many as an inexplicable lack of accountability.
In the world of abusive prosecutors – where evidence can be withheld or invented in the name of winning convictions and without fear of punishment – Ken Anderson stands out: Anderson, a Texas prosecutor who abused his authority to help send an innocent man to prison for decades, now faces 10 years behind bars for his misconduct.
When judges find that prosecutors have abused their authority, other states require them to refer such cases for investigation by disciplinary committees. Should New York follow suit?