Sunday, January 25, 2015

Leaking cop let off with a slap on the wrist: Officer given 'management advice' after posting information on Twitter about probe into singer Cliff Richard

A police officer suspected of leaking information about an investigation into Sir Cliff Richard has escaped severe punishment.

South Yorkshire Police (SYP) gave the unnamed officer ‘management advice’ – tantamount to a slap on the wrist – after he posted information on Twitter in April last year. Management advice is the lowest sanction given for misconduct.

Referring the incident to the IPCC, the police watchdog, SYP queried whether he or she could be the source of the tip-off that led to SYP agreeing with the BBC to broadcast a raid of the pop star’s home.

Heavily redacted police files, obtained by The Mail on Sunday through a Freedom of Information request, reveal a complaint sent to former crime commissioner Shaun Wright days after the raid on Sir Cliff’s home on August 14 last year. The letter said that in April the unnamed officer tweeted about the arrest of a 73-year-old by Operation Yewtree detectives.

The IPCC handed the case back to SYP, which concluded that the junior officer (who was not part of the investigation into the allegations against Sir Cliff) was not the source of the leak – though it has not said why it came to that conclusion.

The star was in Portugal during the raid on his £3 million Berkshire home. He has denied all allegations that he abused a youth, now in his 40s, at a Christian rally in 1985.

The BBC faced criticism for broadcasting the raid live from a helicopter and stationing reporters at the gates of the property before police arrived.

The uproar led to the Home Affairs Select Committee concluding ‘No citizen should have to see their home raided in this way.’

Last night, Keith Vaz, chairman of the Select Committee, said: ‘People will be puzzled that the officer should be treated so leniently for such a serious matter.’

Sir Cliff declined to comment.

Original report here

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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Suppressed evidence got aggressive South Australian cop off the hook

The case was largely one man's word against another so the credibility of the cop was central. We appear to have evidence, however, that he perjured himself. Subsequent to his acquittal, he obtained a legal order to suppress the report below of that evidence -- so he himself knows how crucial the extra evidence is. The case should go to appeal

JURORS in the Norman Hoy trial were never told that, in the moments after Yasser Shahin drove away, the police constable was recorded calling the millionaire businessman "a dick" who "made it big".

The Advertiser can now reveal prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to have another section of Const Hoy's audio recording played to the jury, saying it ran contrary to the evidence he gave under oath.

The legal stoush over the recording - parts of which were listened to by more than 27,000 people on - can be reported following Const Hoy's acquittal yesterday.

In his evidence, Const Hoy said he did not know who Mr Shahin was during their abrasive September 2010 encounter, and the businessman's identity only "sunk in" 15 minutes later.

That testimony, on January 19, prompted prosecutor Nick Healy to ask the jury be sent out of court so he could raise an issue with Judge Paul Rice.

He said his concern centred on the extended version of the audio recording Const Hoy had made of the alleged incident, which had been played for the jury numerous times.

"As Your Honour may or may not be aware, the audio that was recorded by Const Hoy was considerably longer," he said after jurors left court. "There is a considerable amount of audio there and, indeed, a conversation with his sergeant that appears to be at the scene immediately after Mr Shahin leaves.

"It's actually Const Hoy who advises his sergeant `it's the Shahin family', the sergeant says `who are they?' and Const Hoy says `they made it big on Smokemart and all this'.

"Then there is considerable conversation talking about `they've got all these houses in Burnside and they want to build a mansion up there'."

Mr Healy asked the jury be played the section but Marie Shaw, QC, for Const Hoy, objected. She said counsel had agreed, prior to the trial, that only the section recounting the incident itself would be played.

Mr Healy said the situation had changed. "That evidence was not to be led on the basis this witness would not get in the box and start denying, if you like, any contemporaneous knowledge of who Mr Shahin is," he said.

"There's a fair bit of evidence to the contrary, and a subsequent conversation with his sergeant includes when Const Hoy says Mr Shahin was `being a dick'."

Ms Shaw insisted that conversation occurred 15 minutes after Mr Shahin left the scene, which Mr Healy said was "news to me". Ms Shaw accused the prosecution of "ambushing" her client.

"What is the Crown seeking to do with this evidence? Pluck out bits and pieces of this conversation to attack Const Hoy on the way he discussed it with his sergeant?" she asked.

Judge Rice upheld Ms Shaw's objection, saying he did not "think it was proper" the additional section of the recording be played to jurors.

Original report here


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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Persistence of Policing for Profit

Eric Holder's forfeiture reform is welcome but does not go nearly far enough

Money-hungry cops are angry about the forfeiture reform that Attorney General Eric Holder announced last Friday, which suggests it's a move in the right direction. But contrary to initial press reports, the new policy represents a modest change to the rules governing civil forfeiture, which allows the government to take people's assets without accusing them of a crime.

"Civil forfeiture is fundamentally at odds with our judicial system and notions of fairness," two former directors of the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Office observed in a Washington Post op-ed piece last fall. "Civil forfeiture laws presume someone's personal property to be tainted, placing the burden of proving it 'innocent' on the owner."

Holder did not address that central issue, which is beyond his power. Rather, he modified the Justice Department's Equitable Sharing Program, which lets police and prosecutors use federal law to dodge state restrictions on forfeiture.

Holder's order deals only with "adoption" cases, where local agencies seize property on their own and ask the Justice Department to pursue forfeiture under federal law, which requires less evidence and lets cops keep a bigger share of the loot than many state laws do. According to a 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office, "adoptions made up about 17 percent of all equitable sharing payments" in 2010.

During the last six years, the DOJ says, adoptions "accounted for roughly three percent of the value of forfeitures in the Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program." The program's reports to Congress indicate that equitable sharing payments to state and local agencies accounted for about 22 percent of deposits during those six years, which means adoptions represented less than 14 percent of equitable sharing.

In other words, the new DOJ policy leaves the Equitable Sharing Program mostly untouched. It explicitly exempts seizures arising from state or local investigations that are assisted by or coordinated with federal agencies, which include seizures by hundreds of federally subsidized multijurisdictional task forces.

"As virtually every drug task force I know of has a federal liaison on call, this means business as usual [for] local law enforcement," says Eapen Thampy, executive director of Americans for Forfeiture Reform. "The exception swallows the rule."

In a recent letter to Holder, four members of Congress, including three conservative Republicans, urged him to eliminate equitable sharing entirely. That is also the approach favored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who plans to reintroduce his forfeiture reform bill soon.

Legislation is necessary not only to prevent cops from evading state reforms but to give property owners more protection under state and federal laws. Ideally, legislators should require a criminal conviction prior to forfeiture and keep cops from getting part of the proceeds, a policy that perverts their priorities and fosters corruption.

It would be unfortunate if such reforms were killed by complacency. That could happen if the overenthusiastic response to Holder's new policy—which some commentators portrayed as putting an end not only to equitable sharing (which will continue) but to civil forfeiture (which extends far beyond this one program)—leaves people with the false impression that the problem has been solved.

That does not mean Holder's move accomplishes nothing. Greedy grumbling by cops suggests it will make legalized theft harder for some of them.

Douglas County, Nebraska, Sheriff Tim Dunning, for instance, complains that the elimination of federal adoptions in drug cases will force him to comply with his state's forfeiture law, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as opposed to the much weaker "preponderance of the evidence" standard set by federal law. Nebraska also gives cops a smaller share of the take.

"This benefits nobody but drug dealers," Dunning told the Omaha World-Herald. "Federal law is a tremendously bigger hammer. I don't see what hammer we are going to have over these people now."

Dunning's assumption that only drug dealers need to worry about forfeiture illustrates a familiar principle: When you've got a big hammer, everyone looks like a nail.

Original report here

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Policewoman whose paedophile boyfriend sexually assaulted a schoolgirl at ATC sleepover 'tried to persuade victim's parents not to report the attack'

The father of an abuse victim has told a jury how the sex attacker's policewoman lover tried to talk him out of reporting the assault to the authorities.

PC Sarah Cohen visited the parents just hours after they learned that their 14-year-old daughter had been groped during a sleepover party at an Air Training Corps hut in Devon.

The drunken attack was carried out by Cohen's boyfriend James Reading, who organised the unofficial party in the squadron hut, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Cohen is on trial accused of perverting the course of justice by trying to persuade the parents of the teenaged girl not to report his attack.

The victim's father told the jury she came to his house on the night the allegations came to light and warned them their daughter would have to re-live her ordeal in court if an official complaint was made.

She also told him she would arrange treatment for Reading if they did not report his assault on their daughter to the police.

Cohen, 36, from Lifton, Devon, denies two counts of perverting the course of justice in the two days after Reading sexually assaulted the girl in November 2011.

She was Reading's girlfriend at the time and was also the Flight Lieutenant in charge of the ATC squadron in Devon where he was the Flight Sergeant.

The jury have been told that Sgt Reading, 37, has been convicted and jailed for the sexual assault.

The prosecution allege she intervened to prevent him being arrested after he armed himself with a hunting knife, drove to Meldon Dam on Dartmoor drunk, crashed his car, and threatened to commit suicide.

The jury have been told learned of the girl's complaint the next day and informed her father but the prosecution say she later tried to persuade him and his wife not to report Reading to the police.

The girl's father said he had been at the sleepover party at which the assault happened but had been asleep after going on a pub crawl with Reading and having a glass of spirits-laced punch at the ATC hut.

He was unaware that other male cadets had thrown Reading out of the hut, leading to the incident at Meldon, and his first knowledge of either incident was when Cohen came to the hut on the Sunday morning to send the cadets home.

He saw her again the next evening when the squadron held their weekly parade and she informed him about the assault on his daughter after calling him into her office.

He said: 'I cannot describe how a father feels when his daughter has been sexually assaulted. I was shocked. She was saying 'That's my Jamie. That's my Jamie' but did not seem to be that agitated. She was quite calm.

'I spoke to my daughter in the car on the way home but she did not say a lot. She came in on herself. I told my wife and we did not know whether to report it.'

He said they rang Detective Superintendent Michelle Slevin, who they knew socially, who advised them to report the assault to the police and they were planning to do so the next morning when they were called by Cohen at around 11 pm.

She came to their house and remained for about 90 minutes and told them Reading had made suicide attempts in the past and drawn matchstick pictures of people hanging themselves.

The father said: 'She said she was in a dilemma because she was wearing three hats, her ATC hat, her girlfriend hat and her police hat.

'She said each of the hats had their own piece of advice. She said the easy one was a squadron boss because she had a duty to the cadets so she should report Reading to the police.

'Next came the girlfriend hat. She said if we did not report it she would make sure Jamie got treatment and never worked with cadets or children again. She said she had had him sectioned and taken to hospital.

'The third hat was her police hat. She said we were quite within our rights to report it to the police but we should bear in mind it would be a very difficult and trying time for our daughter.

'She said she would have to go through the courts and make a statement as a witness. She made it clear it would not be a very nice time for her and she would have to relive the assault again.

'She did not tell us to report the matter to the police or say she would report it to the police. I thought at the end we had the conversation so she could deliberately talk us out of reporting it to the police.'

Cohen denies all the allegations. Her case is that she acted properly in going to Meldon to defuse a critical situation and that she could not have tried to influence the girl's parents because they had already reported the matter to another officer.

Original report here

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Justice Department Ends Unconstitutional Property Seizure Program

The Department of Justice has announced that it will be ending its Equitable Sharing Program. The Washington Post reports that the Equitable Sharing Program "has enabled local and state police to make seizures and then have them ‘adopted’ by federal agencies, which share in the proceeds. The program allowed police departments and drug task forces to keep up to 80 percent of the proceeds of the adopted seizures, with the rest going to federal agencies."

The end of this federal program is a good step in the right direction. Though, there are some exceptions to the no seizure rule and police can still seize private property under their own state laws.

Civil asset forfeiture laws have allowed police departments to seize private property from people suspected of a crime, sell it for profit, and use the proceeds to fund their operation.The real kicker is that one does not technically need to be convicted of a crime or even arrested to permanently lose their property.

This is a clear violation of the 5th Amendment which states that no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

There are all kinds of stories of people unjustly getting their houses, cars, and cash taken away from them. The city of Philadelphia evicted the Sourovelis family and seized their home because unbeknownst to the parents, their son made a $40 drug deal right outside of the home. I'm not defending selling harmful drugs, but it’s difficult to argue that the entire family deserved to have their house seized.

The Sourovelis parents were eventually let back into their own house but had to promise to never let their son into the house. His father, Mark Sourovelis, said, "To me I'm home, but I feel violated at this point. I'm doing things in my house, but I worry is it always going to be my house? Are they going to take it one day like that?"

Their story is not an anomaly. Philadelphia government officials have seized over 1,000 homes in the last ten years alone.

It’s become common for the government to seize cars from crime suspects. Believe it or not, the government can take your car even if you’re not personally involved in a crime. That’s what happened to D.C. resident, Nelly Moreira.

Isaias Moreira, Ms. Moreira son, was driving her 2005 Honda Accord when he was pulled over by police. The officer searched him and found an unregistered gun tucked into his waistband. Isaias was arrested and his mother’s car was seized for "evidence purposes." He ultimately pled guilty to misdemeanor gun charges but the car was not returned.

Ms. Moreira faced difficulty in getting her car back and had to post a "bond" of $1,020. D.C. law requires that property owners post a bond of $2,500 or 10 percent of the property’s value before they can even appeal. Even then, there’s no guarantee that the bond money or the possession will ever be returned to the owner.

She was finally reunited with her Honda in a police department impound lot after 5 months—but a lot of people never get their cars back. Since 2009, D.C. police have seized more than 1,000 cars, typically due to drugs or guns.

Another example is a 78-year old Florida woman who was caught carrying $40,977 through customs when she was trying to board a plane to the Philippines. According to the Detroit News, the retiree had recently sold her home and "she did not wire the proceeds to the Philippines this time because she thought it was safer to carry the money."

Federal law says that you have to declare to customs authorities if you are carrying more than $10,000. Although no charges against her were ever placed, officers still seized the almost $41,000 in savings from her.

It’s good news that the Justice Department will be ending the Equitable Sharing Program. However, as you can see, we still have a lot of work to do to protect private property.

Original report here

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wrongly Convicted Man Was His Own Best Advocate

Scarcella again

They would meet every week in the law library, researching legal databases, discussing United States Supreme Court decisions and reviewing copies of Justice Denied, a magazine for the wrongfully convicted.

They called themselves the "actual innocence team," jotting down notes on yellow pads as they served their sentences at Auburn Correctional Facility in upstate New York, hoping to build cases and motions that might lead to their freedom.

One of those self-taught jailhouse lawyers, Derrick Hamilton, stood in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on Friday as his 1991 murder conviction was vacated. The hearing capped more than two decades of his filing motions, sending letters and securing affidavits arguing his innocence.

"Mr. Hamilton never for one second doubted his own ability to convince a court of law he was innocent," one of the defense lawyers who has worked on his case, Scott Brettschneider, said in court. "His capacity to turn out legal work was astounding."

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office, which revisited Mr. Hamilton’s case through its Conviction Review Unit, said that medical and scientific evidence, like the path of the bullets and where the victim’s bleeding occurred, undercut the sole eyewitness’s testimony and that the eyewitness was not credible.

Mr. Hamilton, 49, who was paroled in 2011, was one of the first to notice that there were troubling similarities in convictions involving a former police detective, Louis Scarcella. Mr. Hamilton discovered that Mr. Scarcella would often use the same eyewitness and produce confessions that defendants said were coerced or false.

Mr. Hamilton was just out of prison for manslaughter in 1991 when he was charged with shooting a man, Nathaniel Cash, in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Jewel Smith, Mr. Cash’s girlfriend, claimed she was the lone eyewitness to the shooting, but her version of what happened was inconsistent.

She told the first detective who interviewed her that she had not seen the shooting. But according to Mr. Scarcella, who interviewed her later, Ms. Smith said she had seen the murder and implicated Mr. Hamilton. In a post-trial hearing, Ms. Smith said she had been pressured by Mr. Scarcella to name Mr. Hamilton as the killer, according to a defense filing.

The Conviction Review Unit revisited the crime scene and interviewed Ms. Smith in North Carolina, and found she was "unreliable, incredible and for the most part untruthful," a prosecutor, Mark Hale, said in court. "They had to depend upon her credibility to convict Mr. Hamilton," and as a result, "his due process rights were violated."

Prosecutors did not mention Mr. Scarcella’s name on Friday, but defense lawyers did, to the point that Justice Raymond Guzman cautioned them to stop. "Detective Scarcella is not on trial here," he said, adding that he understood the defense’s position that "Detective Scarcella was instrumental in this wrongful conviction."

In a statement, Mr. Scarcella’s lawyers, Alan M. Abramson and Joel S. Cohen, said, "To date, there has been no finding by any judge, nor has there been a statement by any prosecutor to sustain the sensational claims that have appeared in the press that Detective Scarcella contributed to any person’s wrongful conviction."

From the spectator section, Mr. Hamilton’s daughter, Maia, 2, placed her doll next to her on the wooden bench. Also watching were men who are fighting their convictions or who have had their convictions vacated, holding "Wrongfully Convicted" caps that Mr. Hamilton had made up: Sundhe Moses, Jonathan Fleming and Kevin Smith.

"If there was no law books in prison, I probably would’ve been in an insane asylum," Mr. Hamilton said before the hearing.

To learn about the law, Mr. Hamilton took a paralegal course from prison and began researching his case, both on his own and with outside lawyers’ help. "I just couldn’t do anything else," he said in an interview. "I wasn’t a guy that worked out because I didn’t have time to work out. I made motion after motion after motion after motion."

At Auburn, he got a job at the law library, where he joined a group of men also working on their convictions.

Daniel Rincon, convicted of a 1991 quadruple murder in Manhattan, was the letter writer; he would summarize cases in neat narratives and send letters to journalists and lawyers. Shabaka Shakur, convicted of a 1988 double murder in Brooklyn that Mr. Scarcella worked on, was the researcher, looking up case law and helping hone arguments. Nelson Cruz — whose 1998 Brooklyn murder conviction came in part because of the work of Mr. Scarcella’s longtime partner, Stephen W. Chmil — would sketch out crime scenes, illustrating where witnesses and victims stood.

Once a week, in the afternoon, they would write their names on the law library sign-in sheet and take their seats at tables with a security officer stationed above them. Mr. Hamilton would put up a chalkboard and distribute handouts about whatever they would be working on that day.

Some days, they would dive into a recent ruling, like the Supreme Court’s decision on actual innocence in the 2009 Troy Davis case. Some days, they would analyze a recent article in The New York Law Journal. They received instruction on how to use the legal-research service Westlaw. And at just about every meeting, they would work on one of their members’ legal motions or letters or responses or arguments.

At the 2011 hearing where Mr. Hamilton was granted parole, a commissioner, Christina Hernandez, noted his legal work. "You are very legally astute," she said. "You spend a lot of time in the law library. It’s pretty apparent to us. You have been very active with your defense."

Mr. Hamilton also wanted to get the word out about wrongful convictions. Around 2010, he contacted Lonnie Soury, who had publicized wrongful-conviction cases.

"I told him that I really couldn’t help him and I just needed to get paid for my work," Mr. Soury said, assuming he would not hear from Mr. Hamilton again. Two weeks later, he said, he got a check made out on the prison commissary account for $500.

That led to rallies on the steps of City Hall with convicts’ families. And once Mr. Hamilton was released on parole, he helped persuade others, like Mr. Moses and Mr. Smith, who had also been paroled, to make this a public cause.

"He said: ‘Listen, you staying dormant. You got to get back involved,'" Mr. Smith said.

Mr. Hamilton has been a regular presence at hearings about innocence claims since then and is helping prisoners and former prisoners with legal aspects of their cases. Other members of the "actual innocence team," including Mr. Rincon, Mr. Cruz and Mr. Shakur, are all still fighting their convictions from prison.

"I sit there to watch the proceedings because when I see things, I’m going to talk about them; I’m not going to be quiet," Mr. Hamilton said. Seeing the injustice at his own trial, he said, "taught me that I have to be involved."

Original report here

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Monday, January 19, 2015

D.C. Prosecutors Name Legal Team to Review Wrongful Conviction Claims

Two lawyers serving as "independent consultants" will review wrongful conviction claims against the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, the office announced on Monday.

Jeffrey Robinson, a senior counsel at Lewis Baach and former associate director-counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Kristine Hamann, a visiting fellow with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, will work with the U.S. attorney’s office’s new conviction integrity unit.

The announcement came as federal prosecutors in Washington continued to grapple with fallout from a scandal involving FBI agent Matthew Lowry, who was accused of tampering with drug and firearm evidence. Prosecutors have already dismissed criminal cases that Lowry was involved in against more than two dozen defendants. Defense lawyers have questioned the reliability of the FBI’s policies for handling and safeguarding evidence and suggested the controversy could extend to a broader array of cases.

Over the past five years, judges in the District of Columbia granted certificates of innocence to a string of men who spent decades in jail for crimes they did not commit. Those cases exposed problems with FBI evidence analysis techniques and protocols and spurred an investigation by the U.S. attorney's office.

U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen Jr. announced the conviction integrity unit in September. The unit was tasked with reviewing violent felony cases in which defendants claimed to have new evidence of their innocence, including DNA evidence.

Machen said in a statement that his office "wanted to bring in outside counsel who would offer a fresh perspective to our review process in order to ensure that we were reaching the right conclusions when assessing these innocence claims."

Robinson and Hamann's positions are unpaid, according to a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. In a phone interview on Monday, Hamann said she was still learning the details of the assignment. The two lawyers were making themselves available to the office as a "set of fresh eyes," Hamann said.

Hamann advises prosecutors across the country on best practices. She said she hadn't studied the U.S. attorney's office in D.C. and was going into the consultant position with "no preconceived notion" about how it handled innocence claims. "I’m honored that they asked me. I look forward to providing whatever insights I can provide," she said.

Robinson could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Robinson and Hamann will review innocence claims and make recommendations to prosecutors about how to proceed in individual cases. They’ll also advise the office on training, trial practices and policy changes along with Shawn Armbrust, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.

Robinson came back to Lewis Baach in 2013 after spending four years at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. His work for the civil rights organization included leading efforts to reform California’s "three strikes" law and advocating on criminal justice reform issues in Congress. He represented former Vice President Al Gore during the 2000 election controversy.

Hamann works with prosecutors across the country to put together statewide best practices committees, according to the Justice Department. She previously served as a local prosecutor in New York and as the state’s inspector general.

Original report here

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

British police accused of acting 'above the law' after fatal shooting case against chief constable collapses because his force won't allow evidence to be heard in open court

Police have been accused of acting 'above the law' after the case against a chief constable over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man collapsed because his force demanded evidence be kept secret.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, was due to stand trial on Monday accused of Health and Safety breaches in the operation that lead to the death of a 36-year-old man.

Father-of-two Anthony Grainger died of a single gunshot wound to the chest after the car he was in was stopped in Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3 2012.

Police believed they had intelligence Mr Grainger and two others were part of an organised crime unit and were planning an armed robbery on a Sainsbury's store in the village.

It was later discovered that he was unarmed and there were no weapons in the car. The three men with Mr Grainger were later acquitted of charges of conspiracy to rob.

The Crown Prosecution Service decided the marksman should not face charges for murder or manslaughter because a jury would be likely to accept that he believed his actions were necessary.

Instead, Sir Peter, who had pleaded not guilty, had been charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

But the prosecution abandoned its case after deciding some evidence collected by police was so sensitive it would not be in the public interest to be heard in open court.

The evidence is thought to relate to the role of paid police informants and decisions made during the extensive covert surveillance operation that led to Mr Grainger's death.

The judge, Mr Justice William Davis, had also granted anonymity to some 30 police officers who were witnesses or would be mentioned in the case.

But lawyers for Sir Peter, who was prosecuted as head of the force, argued he could not get a fair trail if certain evidence was not made public in court.

Mr Justice Davis ordered that the evidence should be given if the defendant was to get a fair trial - at which point the prosecution, after consulting with the police, decided not to proceed.

Mr Grainger's family said they were 'hugely disappointed' at the outcome and 'simply want answers'.

And their solicitor, Jonathan Bridge, warned it could set 'a really dangerous precedent where the police are in effect above the law in cases where there is sensitive evidence,' The Times reported.

He added that the family would approach the Home Office next week about the future conduct of the case and may seek a public enquiry.

The prosecution argued that during the covert operation, the Greater Manchester Police made '26 failings' arising out of armed police officers being deployed without any proper intelligence basis.

It also argued that the use of armed police was unnecessary or premature.

The decision by William Boyce, QC, to abandon the case at Liverpool Crown Court effectively ends all criminal proceedings over the death of Mr Grainger.

The CPS said: 'We have considered the rulings made by the judge that there is material which needs to be disclosed in open court in order for the defendant to have a fair trial.

'After consulting with relevant parties, we have concluded that we are unable to reveal that material for public interest reasons. We are therefore unable to proceed.'

Mr Grainger is believed to be the first person to die in a police shooting since Mark Duggan in London, whose death sparked rioting in the capital and other cities across the country.

Original report here

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

The problem with the police

It will come as a surprise to absolutely no one when I say that I have no sympathy for the crypiggies who've begun blubbering, since the mess at Ferguson, about how dangerous their "profession" is and how some kind of special steps have to be taken now to protect them. I haven't actually heard any demands for more victim disarmament (gun control) but they do want sales of body armor to civilians to be banned.

Before we go any further with this, kindly allow me to observe that nobody put a gun to their heads and told them "Be a cop!" And being a police officer isn't really all that dangerous—check the statistics, yourself. Being a fireman is more dangerous. Being a miner is more dangerous. Being a deep-sea salvage diver is hell of a lot more dangerous. Nor are these particularly dangerous times. When I was a young reserve officer in the wild and wooly early 1970s, more cops were injured or killed in California alone than in the entire nation now. That fact sparked many changes in policy, including choice of weapons, from revolver to semiautomatic, the design of holsters, and the angle at which the car should be parked during a routine traffic stop.

All that was in the 60s, and, for a while, the police did acquire a more human face. But then, something went wrong. Several things went really wrong, and it left us stuck in the mess we're in today.

To begin with there were police unions and lawyers who rode along with them like pilot fish. RICO allowed them to loot the countryside freely. There is nothing in a free society that we could have done, or can, directly, about this. But it has come to mean that no officer will ever have to face the music for whatever criminal act he may have committed, unless he has political enemies somewhere inside the structure.

Second, there were matters of accoutrement. Mace and revolver speed-loaders were the big news of my time, rapidly followed by CS gas and semiautomatic pistols, mostly Glocks in .40 caliber, while four-shot pump shotguns evolved into eight-shooters on the dashboard. Wooden nightsticks became nylon PR-24s and a engendered whole new martial art. Finally there was Kevlar body armor, and the Taser. Ammunition changed, as well. The Blue Knight's equippage was nearly complete.

All the while, the courts were depriving ordinary citizens of more and more rights and protections until the attacks on 9/11 swept what was left from the board. The police could now go anywhere, do anything—including locking people up on suspicion—without punishment for it.

At the same time, the cops have gone insane, shooting people's dogs, smashing in, beating up, and murdering innocent individuals, including little old ladies, and their pet kittens without even having to apologise about it. I'd cite some typical examples, but they happen every day and you can find them all too easily for yourself. You can't blame people for hating the police, they have good reason. I've deliberately avoided learning much about Ferguson—what little information I have would indicate that the cop behaved properly—but you can't blame the public, The police have brought this on themselves.

If they hadn't, I wouldn't be mildly worried about writing this.I wouldn't be expecting a flood of hate mail and death threats all next week.

Can the situation be fixed? No one in authority will let it be. Victimless crime laws must be repealed and those imprisoned for them released. All presently-serving cops must be laid off and replaced by individuals who are not tainted by violence and corruption, preferably individuals who've lived in the area they will police for at least a decade,

They must go back to six-shot revolvers and four-shot shotguns. No rifles of any description, no SWAT teams. No masks, and badge numbers must be displayed prominently on their uniforms. Most important of all, no more Kevlar armor—they must take the same risks that most of us do. Civilians are attacked many times as often as the cops. They also "Get their man"—shoot the actual culprit—several times as often.

I knew a guy once, a police officer of long standing, who was running for Sheriff. It was his view, he said, and his department agreed, that people should see to their own defense. It was the Sheriff's job to come by afterward to make sure the right person got shot.

I voted for him.

Which reminds me: I would abolish all police departments, and actively prohibit them reforming, turning every responsibility over to the Sheriff. Too many layers separate me from the cops: his superiors, the city council, the mayor and city manager. Not all are subject to recall. One electable man—the Sheriff—stands between me and his deputies.

All of the military equipment police departments have acqquired must be sold at auction. Official oaths must be administered in public (and on TV), with emphasis on the Bill of Rights. Courses on the Bill of Rights must be administered to all would-be police officers.

None of this offends me as a police officer. Nor would I be offended if I had to be one again. Clearly it needs doing and right away. If you want to know more, I very strongly urge you to read the chapter in my award-winning book, Down with Power [ paper and e-book] entitled "The Police".

Or listen to Brian Wilson's brilliant audio version.

I spend a great deal of time listening to talk radio. One thing that sets me apart from most of those guys presently defending the police is that I was a policeman. They are, and remain, merely copsuckers.

Remember that word and use it in good health.

Original report here

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Friday, January 16, 2015

SC: Mistrial declared in trial of ex-police chief charged in killing of unarmed black man

A mistrial was declared nearly 12 hours after the jury of nine women and three men started deliberating in the murder trial of a white former police chief charged in the killing of an unarmed black man.

Around 2:05 a.m., the jury deliberating murder and voluntary manslaughter charges came back into the courtroom and announced it was hopelessly deadlocked.

Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson declared a mistrial. "I appreciate your service," he told the jury.

The jury vote was 9-3 in favor of a guilty verdict, Solicitor David Pascoe said after the mistrial was announced. He did not know whether the vote in favor of guilt was on the murder charge or voluntary manslaughter charge.

Pascoe said he would seek to try the case again but added it was too early to be specific.

Just before midnight, the jury told the judge they were deadlocked in the case, in which Richard Combs, 38, was charged in the May 2, 2011 shooting death of Bernard Bailey, 54, outside Eutawville town hall.

Circuit Judge Edgar Dickson asked jurors: "You-all are deadlocked right now? Stuck?"

Jurors, their faces tired and serious, nodded.

Dickson then read them a standard legal charge for deadlocked jurors, telling them they "had a duty" to make every effort to reach a unanimous verdict but they shouldn’t surrender a deeply held conviction.

The jury, with seven black members and five white members, had begun deliberating around 2:30 p.m. Over the course of nearly 12 hours, its members asked for legal definitions for murder, manslaughter and malice, asked to see a police video of a traffic stop and asked to hear an emergency call made by former Police Chief Richard Combs made about one minute after he shot Bernard Bailey to death in the Eutawville Town Hall parking lot.

Then, around 9:30 pm, the judge sent out for pizza from Pizza Hut, which the jury had along with cold, canned soft drinks.

Up until Monday, the only charge against Combs was the more serious murder charge. The voluntary manslaughter charge being considered carried a two-year-to-30-year prison sentence. The murder charge carried a 30-year-to-life sentence.

Charges in the case, which attracted national attention, stemmed from the fatal shooting of Bailey, 54, under controversial circumstances.

Combs acknowledged that he shot Bailey – whom he had just placed under arrest – as Bailey started backing his truck out of a parking spot to leave the scene.

But the jury mulled two conflicting views of the situation, shared during roughly three hours of closing arguments Monday.

Defense attorney Wally Fayssoux said Combs only fired at Bailey as a last resort, in fear for his life after the chief found himself caught in Bailey’s Chevrolet pickup truck door and falling as Bailey backed out, apparently resisting arrest. At the time, Combs was trying to put handcuffs on Bailey.

"The chief doesn’t have to wait until the wheel goes across him before he fires in self-defense," Fayssoux told the jury.

But 1st Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe told the jury that Combs was a "rogue cop" who, nursing a grudge against Bailey, had plotted for five weeks to create a situation whereby Bailey, an assistant Wal-Mart manager and former prison guard, likely would become flustered and try to leave Town Hall.

Law and order itself is at stake in this case, Pascoe told the jury.

"The system breaks down when you have rogue police officers gunning down an unarmed man," Pascoe said, adding an argument of self-defense doesn’t apply in Combs’ case. "If you are going to take a human life and get away with it, you have to be completely without fault. You have to have clean hands."

Defense attorney Fayssoux told the jury the case only involved several seconds – the time at the pickup truck when Bailey clearly knew an officer of the law was serving a legal arrest on him, and Bailey was using his pickup truck as a deadly weapon to run the chief down.

State prosecutors, Fayssoux told the jury, "would have you believe that an officer goes from being the man he is to a monger of hate ... They have to prove that he shot Mr. Bailey based on hate and on fear."

Bailey, Fayssoux said, put the chief "in the impossible position of deciding whether he wanted to go home and see his family or being run over by Mr. Bailey’s truck."

Fayssoux also told the jury that despite being afraid for his life, Combs only fired three rounds into Bailey from his .40-caliber Glock.

But Pascoe reminded the jury of an earlier incident, five weeks before Bailey’s death, telling the jurors they couldn’t just look at the few seconds when the shooting took place to evaluate the incident. On March 15, 2011, Bailey showed up at a traffic stop where Combs had pulled over Bailey’s daughter, Briana, for a broken taillight.

Although a video played to the jury showed some brief, possibly tense exchanges between Bailey and Combs that night, there was no clearly overt menacing action by Bailey.

Five weeks later, when Bailey showed up unexpectedly at Town Hall to ask whether his daughter’s traffic court date for the broken taillight could be moved because she was away at college, Combs surprised him with an arrest warrant for obstruction of justice for the night of the traffic stop.

Bailey walked out of Town Hall with Combs walking behind him, saying, "Sir, stop, you are under arrest." Combs followed Bailey to his truck and then, as Bailey jumped in his pickup, started it up and put it in gear, the shots rang out.

Pascoe said there’s no doubt the jury should find Combs guilty.

"If I’m wrong, give him (Combs) back his badge, give him back his gun, and let him arrest someone else’s daughter," Pascoe said, calling Combs a liar because of what Pascoe said were Combs’ inconsistent statements in the case.

Earlier Monday, before closing arguments, Dickson denied defense motions for a mistrial.

In their jury arguments, Pascoe and Fayssoux – at times shouting in loud, gravelly voices – each attacked the other, with Fayssoux accusing Pascoe of portraying the ex-chief as "an evil monster" and tilting the evidence so he could notch up a win, and Pascoe accusing Fayssoux of wanting to give law officers permission to kill someone without legitimate cause.

The closing arguments came on the fifth day of the high-profile trial. Nine witnesses testified for the prosecution and seven for the defense, including Combs.

The trial has attracted national attention, following several incidents of white law enforcement officials killing unarmed black men. Last fall, a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., shot an unarmed black teen – an incident that provoked riots. More recently, an unarmed black man in New York died after being placed in a chokehold.

But the prosecution never claimed Bailey was shot because of his race, and defense lawyers told the jury specifically that race played no part.

Instead, the trial focused on the two incidents between the two men that led to the shooting.

Also emerging as a theme, though somewhat muted, was a small rural town’s lack of resources, such as immediate available backup and equipment such as Tasers or Mace that might lead to non-fatal resolutions of situations.

At the time of the shooting, on a weekday morning, Combs was the lone police officer in Eutawville.

Original report here

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

NM: Two cops face murder charges in 2014 Albuquerque homeless man’s shooting

Two Albuquerque, New Mexico, police officers will face first-degree murder charges in last year's shooting of a homeless man in the hills above the city, a prosecutor announced Monday.

Keith Sandy and Dominique Perez were ordered to appear at a preliminary hearing, the date of which has not yet been set, said District Attorney Kari Brandenburg of New Mexico's Second Judicial Circuit.

Sandy and Perez are accused of killing James Boyd in March. The 38-year-old homeless man spent the night before his shooting in a shelter, but when the shelter closed for the winter, Boyd tried to camp in the hills above the city, officials said. Overnight camping in the hills is illegal.

Helmet and body cameras worn by dozens of city police who converged on the campsite showed Boyd with two small camping knives in his hands.

Over several hours, Boyd talked with officers, at one point claiming to be "the Department of Defense."

The cameras captured officers converging on a small nest of rocks on the hillside. At one point, Boyd turned his back to the officers and they began firing.

Officers fired a shotgun and nonlethal beanbag pellets at Boyd, while other officers were caught on camera throwing flash-bang grenades. The video also shows one officer unleashing his K-9 German shepherd against Boyd.

The helmet cameras show Boyd wheezing for breath after the attack. He died later at a local hospital.

Sandy retired from the department in December of 2014, an Albuquerque police spokesman said. It's unclear if Perez is still on the force.

Local activists have demonstrated for months, protesting not only the Boyd shooting, but other shootings by city police officers since 2010.

Records show that 26 civilians have been shot, a dozen of them fatally, by city police since 2010. Before Monday, no officer had been charged in connection with any shootings.

The Justice Department in April 2014 found that "there is reason to believe" the city's Police Department had a "pattern and practice" of excessive force. The city has since agreed to a memorandum of understanding allowing the Department of Justice to monitor the department.

Original report here

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Insane British cop 'punched and kicked me as I clung to sick daughter'

Clash on Great Ormond Street ward left mother bleeding heavily from face wound. Cop reported by his own colleagues

A police officer savagely beat a mother who rowed with staff at a children's hospital, a jury heard. PC Warren Luke grabbed the woman as she clutched the arm of her seriously ill seven-year-old daughter.

Nurses watched in horror as he punched the mother in the face and kicked her, it was alleged. The ferocity of the clash left the girl, who suffers from cerebral palsy, covered in her mother's blood.

The 41-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wept yesterday as she told jurors she had feared she would die. She said Luke attacked her in full view of a ward of very sick children, leaving her bleeding heavily from a wound to her face.

'I couldn't do anything. I was being beaten. I was helpless. He kicked me six or seven times,' she said.

In a police video interview played to the jury, she described how Luke suddenly turned on her as two women PCs spoke to her 'nicely'.

'He told me, 'You've got to leave, you've got to leave',' she said. 'I kept playing with my daughter and then I saw him moving towards me. He was kicking me and kicking me.

'He had one hand on my head. When I fell on the bed he grabbed my hair and banged my head. I was screaming.

'I couldn't defend myself. My ex-husband ran in and shouted, 'Why are you kicking my wife?'

'It seemed as if this officer wanted to kill me.'

The former husband said: 'I saw him punch her in the face. He was elbowing her too.' Luke, 38, was one of four officers called to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in December 2013 after the woman argued with doctors and refused to leave her daughter's bedside.

Nurses feared the woman would try to remove the girl from the hospital, where she had spent two months receiving life-saving care.

Prosecutor Samantha Cohen told Wood Green Crown Court in North London that Luke made the woman release her daughter's arm, but returned moments later and grabbed her hair.

She said: 'He then punched her in the back of her head and on her back. He then kicked her arm a number of times. She was bleeding heavily from her face. She offered no resistance.'

The woman was handcuffed by two other officers and escorted from the hospital.

Security staff told police they were appalled by Luke's behaviour, Miss Cohen said.

Two of his colleagues reported Luke to a supervising officer and he was arrested later that evening.

Susannah Stevens, for Luke, said he behaved 'calmly and politely' and accused the woman of 'completely exaggerating' the force used.

The woman had behaved aggressively towards staff twice before and had grabbed Luke's groin during the melee, she said.

Luke, a Met officer for six years, denies causing bodily harm.

The trial, which is expected to last up to three weeks, continues.

Original report here

He'll get off lightly because of his colour. His refusal to make any admissions even when there is huge evidence against him is common among blacks

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

After 26 Years in Prison, Settling a Wrongful Conviction

WHITE PLAINS — Dewey Bozella was once the light-heavyweight boxing champion of Sing Sing, a distinction he won while serving 26 years in prison for a murder for which he was eventually exonerated.

More recently, he stepped into the ring for another fight, a legal one that sought $25 million for wrongful incarceration, and it concluded with a technical knockout. He reached a tentative settlement with Dutchess County, which will pay him an undisclosed sum, though it will make no admission of wrongdoing, according to lawyers familiar with the case.

After the settlement was announced in court Monday morning, Mr. Bozella hugged his lawyers and his wife, Trena.

"It’s a steppingstone in the right direction where I can move on with my life," he said.

Mr. Bozella, a sturdily built six-footer, strode up the steps of Federal District Court here Monday for what was originally supposed to be a civil jury trial of his claim that he was put in prison for a crime he did not commit — the brutal murder in 1977 of a 92-year-old woman, Emma Crapser, who came home from a night of church bingo while a burglar was inside her home in Poughkeepsie.

Mr. Bozella’s lawyers contend that prosecutors and police officers for the county withheld four pieces of evidence from his defense lawyers at the time — so-called Brady material — that would have pointed to another man as the murderer.

The county responded that it had entirely legitimate reasons for not turning over the evidence. The trial was to be presided over by District Judge Cathy Seibel, who had indicated in pretrial papers that Mr. Bozella had a strong argument that some of the evidence might have helped his case.

Lawyers for Mr. Bozella and the county negotiated the tentative settlement over the weekend. Judge Seibel announced in court Monday that lawyers informed her Saturday evening that "an agreement in principle" had been reached. The County Legislature is to vote on the monetary amount of damages within 60 days.

Mr. Bozella, 55, was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, and raised in group foster care after his father killed his mother. When the Crapser murder took place, he was 18 and already had a history of petty crime. He was twice convicted — first in 1983 and then at a retrial in 1990 — of beating Ms. Crapser, tying her up with an electrical cord and then suffocating her.

"I fell to the floor and started crying, screaming that I didn’t do it," Mr. Bozella told a writer for the alumni magazine at Amherst College, which one of his lawyers attended, about his 1983 conviction. "When I heard the words ‘life sentence’ I thought, ‘Don’t take my life. That’s all I got.’ "

The prosecution, a judge later found, relied mainly on the testimony of two men with criminal histories who changed their stories to get favorable treatment in their own cases. Prosecutors also failed to turn over favorable evidence that might have cleared Mr. Bozella, including testimony from a neighbor who said that on the night of the murder she had heard garbage cans rustling in the alleyway, near a window of the Crapser apartment where the police had found a fingerprint of a man named Donald Wise. Mr. Wise had been convicted of killing another elderly woman in the same neighborhood and in the same manner. The location was important because prosecutors said Mr. Bozella had walked through the building’s front door, not through an alleyway.

In 2007, Mr. Bozella contacted the Innocence Project, which seeks out cases of improper convictions, and it asked Ross E. Firsenbaum, a lawyer at WilmerHale, to handle the case pro bono. He questioned a retired police lieutenant who had been the lead investigator and discovered that he had kept a file on the Crapser case because he felt uncomfortable about the way it had been handled. The file included witness accounts that had not been turned over to Mr. Bozella’s original lawyer. In 2009, the State Supreme Court concluded that Mr. Bozella had been wrongfully convicted, saying, "The court is firmly and soundly convinced of the meritorious nature of the defendant’s application."

While in prison, Mr. Bozella earned a bachelor’s degree from Mercy College and a master’s from New York Theological Seminary. He married another inmate’s sister. He also boxed in the building that once contained Sing Sing’s electric chair but had been converted to a ring, later telling reporters that boxing gave him the discipline to make it through prison. He became the prison’s light-heavyweight champion, and after his conviction he taught boxing at a gym in Newburgh, N.Y., and was offered a shot at a professional bout.

In October 2011 he fought his first and only professional match in Los Angeles. He was 52, and officials believed was he was the oldest fighter ever licensed to box in California. He won a unanimous decision.

Original report here


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Monday, January 12, 2015

New York City Settles Three Black Brothers’ Wrongful Conviction Cases for $17 Million

The New York City comptroller, Scott M. Stringer, has agreed to pay $17 million to settle three more claims based on wrongful criminal convictions, his office said on Sunday, part of an emerging strategy to resolve civil rights cases before they are formally filed as lawsuits in court.

The settlements were reached with three defendants whose cases involved Louis Scarcella, the retired homicide detective whose investigative tactics have come under question and whose cases are being reviewed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

The men, Robert Hill, Alvena Jennette and Darryl Austin, who are half brothers, spent a combined total of 60 years in prison — one died there — before their convictions, made in the 1980s, were vacated by a judge in May. The office of Kenneth P. Thompson, the Brooklyn district attorney, is examining 130 convictions, including 70 cases in which Mr. Scarcella played a key role. Most of the cases under review date to the crime-plagued 1980s and 1990s.

Mr. Stringer, in an interview, made it clear that the settlements were intended to help the family, but that he also believed that the city should avoid litigation in which it could, if found liable at trial, face exposure to high damages.

"The 1980s were a difficult time in our city’s history," Mr. Stringer said, "and in a certain way, we are sort of unearthing the tangled history of that time period in our court system today."

"Clearly, our heart goes out to those who have been wrongfully incarcerated," he continued. "We are also very concerned about the impact these cases will have on the fiscal health of the city."

The settlements are the third, fourth and fifth prelitigation deals in major civil rights cases reached by Mr. Stringer since he took office a year ago. The comptroller’s office traditionally settled other kinds of claims, like slip-and-falls or property damage, before they went to court, but left significant civil rights cases to the city’s Law Department, an agency under the mayor’s direction.

The two earlier prelitigation deals were a $6.4 million settlement last February with David Ranta, who was imprisoned for 23 years after being wrongfully convicted of murder, and a $2.25 million agreement in October with the family of Jerome Murdough, a homeless veteran who died at Rikers Island in an overheated jail cell.

Mr. Stringer said in December that he also hoped to settle a $75 million claim filed by the family of Eric Garner, an unarmed man who died last summer after an officer used a chokehold during a confrontation with the police on Staten Island.

The new strategy has had the effect of excluding the de Blasio administration from the settlement process in several high-profile cases. But Mr. Stringer, who as comptroller is the steward of the city’s investments and finances, made it clear that he is trying to strike a fair agreement where his office finds that claims have merit.

Mr. Stringer, alluding to Mr. Thompson’s review, added, "I am aware that we do have the potential for these cases coming to us over the next couple of years."

In a statement, Nicholas Paolucci, a spokesman for the Law Department, said that such settlements are within the comptroller’s authority. "Particularly in a case in which a district attorney has made an independent assessment that a criminal conviction should be vacated, an early resolution can be prudent and fair."

The settlements announced on Sunday will pay $7.15 million to Mr. Hill, who spent about 27 years in prison until his release last year; $6 million to Mr. Jennette, who was released on parole in 2007 after about 20 years in prison; and $3.85 million to the estate of Mr. Austin, who died in prison in 2000 after 13 years there.

Mr. Hill and Mr. Jennette, who were incarcerated in other prisons, learned of their brother’s death through the mail. Louise Austin, a pastor in North Carolina — and the mother of all three men — stood in for Mr. Austin at the hearing in May when his conviction was vacated.

Pierre Sussman, the brothers’ lawyer, said that the quick resolution was in everyone’s best interest — the two surviving brothers are in their 50s, he said, and Mr. Hill has multiple sclerosis — and avoids potentially years of litigation. "They had no interest in going through that lengthy process," he said.

Mr. Sussman, who had also represented Mr. Ranta, said the brothers’ settlements are higher per year than some of the wrongful-conviction cases that had been pursued in court. "That speaks to the strength of these cases, and that may be the Scarcella factor at work," he said.

He said that the agreements "should not be seen as any level of forgiveness or resolution for Scarcella" on his clients’ part. Claims have also been filed against the state; they have not been resolved.

Mr. Scarcella, a Brooklyn homicide detective noted for his ability to close cases, used the same witness, a crack addict named Teresa Gomez, in the cases against the half brothers. She was a witness in six of Mr. Scarcella’s cases, and her testimony tended to contradict physical evidence and other witnesses’ accounts. Mr. Scarcella has denied any wrongdoing.

A 1985 murder had gone unsolved for two years until Mr. Scarcella was assigned to the case, and turned up Ms. Gomez, who named Mr. Austin and Mr. Jennette as the killers; they were convicted at trial. And she testified against Mr. Hill in two separate murder cases. A jury found him not guilty in the first case; in the second, a jury convicted him of a 1987 murder.

Mr. Hill and Mr. Jennette live in their family’s house in Crown Heights, which they are renovating, Mr. Sussman said. Mr. Hill spends most of his time dealing with his multiple sclerosis, while Mr. Jennette "has remained virtually unemployable because of the notoriety of this case and the fact that he was a convicted murderer up until May," Mr. Sussman said.

With the claims being settled, there will be no lawsuits filed or trials held. Mr. Stringer acknowledged that the public record created by litigation was important. But in this particular case, he said, "a mother lost three children," adding, "I think the family has done enough."

Original report here

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