Exonerated Queens Man Decides to Sue Prosecutors
A man whose attempted murder conviction was overturned after he served a dozen years in prison is planning on filing a lawsuit charging that Queens prosecutors have withheld evidence and misled juries in a broad pattern of misconduct that has led to dozens of wrongful convictions.
The suit, which a lawyer expects to file today in federal court in Brooklyn, details 84 instances in which criminal convictions obtained by Queens prosecutors were reversed by higher courts for prosecutorial wrongdoing. The lawsuit says that the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, and his predecessor, John J. Santucci, have not punished prosecutors for their misbehavior.
The suit accuses prosecutors in some cases of presenting false testimony by witnesses about their deals for leniency in exchange for cooperation, according to a copy provided by the lawyer filing the suit. It says prosecutors withheld evidence that could be seen as motivating witnesses to give false testimony, and also accuses prosecutors of making false or misleading trial presentations to juries.
"These cases are just the tip of the iceberg," said Joel B. Rudin, a Manhattan lawyer filing the suit on behalf of the Queens man. Mr. Rudin won a $5 million settlement in a lawsuit against the Bronx district attorney's office in 2003 involving prosecutorial misconduct. He said that most convictions and plea deals involving prosecutorial misconduct are never uncovered.
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