Brickbats

Brickbat: Tainted Testimony

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Bronx Supreme Court Justice David Lewis tossed convictions against 133 defendants in cases in which former New York Police Department detective Joseph Franco testified. Franco has been indicted on 26 counts of felony perjury. Last year, the Brooklyn district attorney dismissed 93 other cases which relied on Franco's testimony.

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  1. The detective was not fired for misconduct or convicted of any crime. Treating him as unreliable is a political decision, for which he should sue for defamation and slander.

    It’s an injustice to the crime victims that 133 defendants were freed.

    1. If the DA's office is indicting him, even if there's no conviction yet and even if he's acquitted, it means *they* think his testimony is unreliable. If they believe he lies on the stand, it's proper for them to dismiss those cases that relied on his testimony.

      There's no way he can sue for the decision itself; that's an act of prosecutorial discretion and I'm pretty sure they get immunity for this sort of thing. He *might* be able to sue about the media statements made, although he'd probably be wise to wait until after his trial. (Which should have happened by now. It's been almost three years. At some point it barely even matters whether you're convicted or not since the punishment is almost the same.)

      And what exactly *was* he fired for, if not this? Was the timing just a coincidence?

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      2. At some point it barely even matters whether you're convicted or not since the punishment is almost the same.

        Unless, you know, you go someplace else and get hired because you don't have a conviction on your record.

    2. It's an injustice to the victims of these crimes that this guy was a professional testi-liar of a bad cop.

      Especially if by 'these crimes' you include 26 counts of perjury.

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      2. Counts of perjury are meaningless without a conviction, or do you ignore that whole innocent until proven guilty because he was a detective?

        They’ve had 3 years to convict him. At some point, the charges need to be proven or dropped.

    3. "In 2017 and 2018, Franco worked narcotics in Manhattan where he’s awaiting trial for perjury for allegedly lying about seeing drug deals. Manhattan prosecutors indicted Franco in 2019, accusing him of lying in testimony and paperwork about witnessing drug transactions that security camera footage showed never took place. The police department fired him in April 2020."

      https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/rcna13049

    4. I have never understood or accepted the legal "logic" that misbehavior by law enforcement nullifies the facts of what happened, and protects the guilty from punishment.

      If a cop or prosecutor commits professional fraud, then punish them severely. How does letting a criminal go free do this?

      1. In this case no one's knows if these people are even criminals. Because he lies on the stand.

        10 guilty and one innocent and all that.

      2. Do you seriously mean that when a cop lies on the stand, he should be punished but his victims, those he lied about, should remain convicted? That is what you are arguing here. He lied; his perjury means all his testimony is tainted, and all convictions based on that testimony are tainted.

        1. Especially in this case. It's not like he lied and said he's never cheated on his wife in a bank robbery case or said he ordered a root beer when he ordered a cream soda in convenience store stickup. He said he saw a drug deal and the video evidence controverts his testimony. Without his testimony in at least a couple of these cases there is no evidence of a crime.

          I will admit that I'm making a potentially unsafe assumption that the prosecutor went through and exercised some discretion about who got acquitted because their case hinged on his testimony and who didn't, but Reason's story alleges the criteria (as if that's worth anything).

  2. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez’s premature decision to dismiss 90 cases in summary fashion despite an investigation by his office which failed to uncover anything improper, is baseless and irresponsible,” Howard Tanner said. “This shocking and highly publicized decision has created a toxic atmosphere that is prejudicial to Mr. Franco’s constitutional right to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial by an impartial jury.

    Lol.

    1. Yeah anybody who thinks people have a Constitutional right to detain and convict people even when they're not lying needs to take a history and maybe a civics class.

  3. former New York Police Department detective Joseph Franco

    If he wasn't 100% guilty, he wouldn't be a "former". If your union isn't even sticking up for you, you're toast.

    1. Unions only stick by you to make sure the collective bargaining agreement is followed, not to defend or be character witnesses. The lawyers they may use exist to protect the union’s interests, not yours.

  4. To swerve and project.

  5. It's an open secret that cops lie on the stand. They're trained to say whatever gets a conviction, not the truth. They all lie. Every single one. They lie to members of the public they interact with, they lie on reports, and they lie in court.

    So why is this guy being singled out? Only thing I can think of is that he lied on the stand about someone important. Like a politician's son or something.

    But what the cop did was absolutely normal police behavior.

    1. So why is this guy being singled out?

      Someone was able to afford a conscientious lawyer who found independent video of the non-event the cop lied about. maybe the lawyer then went looking for other victims (hah MeToo) and hit paydirt...

      maybe he didn't make his payoffs to the union bosses... who knows? It's all a sordid business.

  6. Franco has been indicted on 26 counts of felony perjury

    It was an immaculate deception.

  7. Oh, and indicted doesn't mean convicted and convicted doesn't mean sentenced.

    If the guy's smart he'll ask for a bench trial, get a sympathetic judge, and nothing else will happen.

  8. As Jerryskids points out above even if he were dumb his Union would be asking for a bench trial from a sympathetic judge. The fact that they aren't suggests he's beyond stupid.

    1. Whoops, meant in reply to sarcasmic.

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