A Bronx judge just threw out a gang of cases thanks to a narcotics police officer who has been accused of playing dirty in order to secure numerous drug busts.
According to Gothamist, a judge in the Boogie Down dismissed 67 cases that were linked to undercover narcotics detective Joseph Franco who was fired from the NYPD in 2020 for making false statements about his arrests. With the 67 cases thrown out, the courts in the Bronx have now thrown out 324 cases due to “potentially wrongful convictions.”
The Gothamist reports:
“Prosecutors had relied on evidence from someone with compromised credibility, and the district attorney cannot stand behind these convictions,” Bronx DA Darcel Clark said in a press release.
Neither the NYPD nor Franco’s attorney immediately responded to requests for comment.
The latest batch of dismissed cases involves people who were charged between 2011 and 2015, when Franco was a detective in the Bronx. Of the 67 convictions, 24 were for seventh-degree criminal possession of a substance — a low-level drug possession charge — and nine were for marijuana offenses that are no longer illegal in New York, according to the DA’s office. Others were for fourth-degree criminal facilitation — when someone helps another person to commit a crime — and for using drug paraphernalia.
Franco himself stood trial for perjury and misconduct earlier this year as prosecutors accused him of lying about drug sales he claimed to have witnessed on both police paperwork and in court. Armed with videos that they claim show it would have been impossible for Franco to have seen what he said he had witnessed, the DA’s office called him out in a court of law but Franco ultimately had the charges dismissed as prosecutors failed to give the defense all the evidence they had as is required by law.
“His lies were a poison that tainted any fair or legitimate case,” Assistant DA Samantha Dworken said during opening statements in January.
Franco’s defense attorney, Howard Evan Tanner, denied that the former detective lied and said any contradictions in his statements were unintentional.
“I think he was trying to do his job to the best of his ability,” Tanner said in court.
Of course you do, Mr. Tanner. Of course you do.
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