188 convictions tied to former NYPD officers convicted of criminal conduct to be vacated, district attorney says

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office on Thursday moved to vacate 188 misdemeanor convictions dating back more than 20 years, because police officers involved in the cases have since been convicted themselves of crimes related to their law enforcement duties. The district attorney sought to dismiss the convictions on the grounds of due process violations.

In a news release, the district attorney’s office listed eight former New York City Police Department officers and detectives who played a role in how those 188 misdemeanors were prosecuted. It noted that the work is part of an ongoing review of 22 former cops who were tied to more than 1,100 cases. 

“Trust and confidence are essential to achieving public safety,” District Attorney Alvin Bragg Jr. said in a statement. “New Yorkers must know that everyone is acting with the utmost integrity in the pursuit of equal justice under the law. Without that belief, our criminal justice system will never be able to deliver real and lasting safety that every community deserves.”

“While most law enforcement officials and police officers are dedicated public servants, these eight officers, who played a material role in hundreds of arrests, criminally abused their positions of power,” the statement continued. “These illegal actions irrevocably taint these convictions and represent a significant violation of due process rights – the foundational principle of our legal system.”

Bragg’s announcement comes just two months after the Brooklyn district attorney confirmed his office’s plans to dismiss 378 convictions that relied on testimony from more than a dozen now-discredited police officers.

After facing ongoing public pressure to reexamine cases, Bragg coordinated with advocacy groups including the Legal Aid Society to probe cases that could have been manipulated by corruption within the NYPD.

On Thursday, the Legal Aid Society praised the district attorney, and also called for further review.

“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,” the organization said. “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.”

The eight former officers tied to the misdemeanor convictions now dismissed in Manhattan include former detective Jason Arbeeny, who was sentenced to five years’ probation and 300 hours of community service in 2012 for planting drugs on an unsuspecting couple and falsely submitting it as evidence. Testifying for the prosecution at Arbeeny’s trial, another former NYPD detective said officers in some Brooklyn narcotics units regularly planted illegal substances on innocent people. 

The list also includes Nicholas Mina, who was sentenced to more than 15 years for stealing and selling guns out of a precinct; Michael Arenella, who took money from an undercover officer and used it to pay an informant, according to the Manhattan district attorney; Michael Carsey, who lied under oath about how he acquired information that led to an arrest; Johnny Diaz, who accepted bribes from an undercover officer posing as a drug dealer and helped the officer transport cocaine; William Eiseman, who was convicted of perjury for providing false testimony and conducting illegal searches; and Michael Foder, who was sentenced to three months in jail for lying under oath at a federal hearing.

Richard Hall, who was sentenced to five years’ probation for releasing an 18-year-old woman from custody in exchange for sex acts, was also named. He and another former officer, Eddie Martins, were initially arraigned on a 50-count indictment charging them with rape, felony sexual assault and kidnapping. They pleaded not guilty to all counts.

Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/news/manhattan-district-attorney-dismisses-188-convictions-officers-convicted-criminal-conduct/

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