In a remarkable admission, former Manhattan prosecutor Daniel Bibb has stated that he intentionally threw a murder case because he did not believe the evidence. The case against David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo has become a major embarrassment for District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who is seeking reelection. Lemus was later acquitted and the charges dropped against Hidalgo in the Palladium case.
Called the Palladium case, the two men were convicted in 1992 of a Nov. 23, 1990, murder of bouncer Marcus Peterson outside the Palladium nightclub. Yet, in 2003, a drug dealer admitted to killing and judge ordered a new hearing based on the new evidence. A responsible prosecutor would have been eager for such review. But Bibb said that his bosses wanted to fight over his objections.
He decided that he could not risk pulling out and have a prosecutor who would zealously fight the case. Instead, he decided to undermine the prosecution and “did his best” to throw the case.
It is a very problematic position. He was right to fight to drop the case, but secretly throwing the case violates an obligation to the office. While I respect Bibb’s efforts, he should have refused to take the case if he believed that the men were innocent. Morgenthau is legitimately being attacked over the case. His office appeared more eager to protect a conviction than to do justice.
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