In a post titled “Brooklyn DA Hynes Must Admit Role in Wrongful Conviction, Submit to Independent Review by State Attorney General,” Kenneth Thompson calls for an independent review of wrongful conviction cases out of Brooklyn DA Hynes’ office by the New York Attorney General. Thompson, who is a candidate for Hynes’ position in the upcoming election, posted his message on Huffington Post earlier today.
Focusing on the most recent in a string of cases out of the Brooklyn DA’s office that have been overturned due to prosecutorial misconduct, Thompson suggests that Hynes is missing the mark by suggesting that his recently created conviction integrity unit will solve the problems:Internal conviction integrity units are best used to correct mistakes such as eyewitness misidentifications and false confessions. But what the Ranta, Collins and Lopez cases clearly show is that wrongful conviction cases premised on serious allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct require independent review.
The Ranta case to which Thompson refers concluded on March 21 when a State Supreme Court judge threw out his conviction for a 1990 bungled robbery that ended in the death of a Brooklyn rabbi. After a year-long investigation, Hynes’ Conviction Integrity Unit had concluded that witnesses were coached and police mishandled evidence in the case. ABC News reports prosecutors say the real killer “may be a man who died in a car crash two months after the murder. They did not identify him.” Ranta had served 23 years of a 37.5 year prison sentence at the time of his release.
While DA Hynes points out that it was his own internal review of troublesome cases that led to Ranta’s vacated conviction, an earlier piece by the New York Times suggests Hynes was himself privy to some of the unethical conduct going on at the time of Ranta’s trial and ought to have investigated the case much sooner.