Innocence

NY Prosecutor Seeks Release of Man Falsely Imprisoned for Rabbi's Murder

Convicted and jailed more than 20 years ago

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Forty detectives worked the case, soon led by the swaggering, cigar-chewing Detective Louis Scarcella. Working closely with an influential Satmar rabbi, Detective Scarcella arrested a drug-addicted, unemployed printer named David Ranta. Hasidic Jews surrounded the car that carried the accused man to jail, slapping the roof and chanting, "Death penalty!"

Mr. Ranta was convicted in May 1991 and sentenced to 37.5 years in maximum-security prison, where he remains to this day.

He is almost certainly not guilty.

This week Mr. Hynes, after a long investigation by a unit that he created to look into questionable convictions, plans to ask a state judge to release the prisoner. Mr. Ranta's lawyer, Pierre Sussman, who conducted his own inquiry, said his client has been instructed to pack up his cell.