The Legal Aid Society praised New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg decision to vacate convictions in 188 cases where the purported evidence of guilt was obtained or produced by corrupt New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, as reported by The New York Times.
The action comes in response to a letter sent in May of 2021 by Legal Aid, together with The Exoneration Project and other defender and civil rights organizations, that identified 22 officers whose cases were in need of review due to past convictions associated with their law enforcement duties.
“While this moment delivers some justice and closure to these New Yorkers, they were forced to endure hardships that should have never been allowed to happen,” said Elizabeth Felber, Director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “This includes incarceration, hefty legal fees, loss of employment, housing instability, severed access to critical benefits and other collateral consequences.”
“Going forward, we urge DA Bragg and all of the other New York City District Attorneys to conduct these reviews on an ongoing basis and with full transparency,” she continued. “The mandate to do justice must include evaluating criminal conduct by law enforcement with the same lens that is used with every other New Yorker. To do otherwise erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement and the criminal legal system.”
Legal Aid continues to call on the City’s other district attorneys to follow suit and examine cases where each of these officers played an essential role and to commit to regular and transparent review of cases involving police officers with credibility issues.
Last Updated: 17 November 2022
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