Brooklyn District Attorney Ordered To Testify On Pattern Of Prosecutorial Abuses By His Office

220px-Charles_J._HynesThe Brooklyn district attorney Charles J. Hynes is not have a particularly good week. First, Hynes had to fire one of his top people after Gang Bureau head Deanna Rodriguez used racist and anti-gay language. Now he will have to testify about allegations that his office ignores and even promotes prosecutorial misconduct. The testimony will occur in the case of Jabbar Collins, who has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the office of District Attorney Charles J. Hynes after he won his release after 16 years in prison for murder. He claims that his case is only one of an array of cases showing a pattern of egregious abuses and misconduct by Hynes’ office and prosecutors.

Judge Robert M. Levy ordered Mr. Hynes to testify in a deposition the week of Aug. 19 and refused the demand of Hynes’ lawyer that he be given advance notice of cases to be questioned about in the deposition.

Hynes’ top aide, Michael F. Vecchione, has also been accused of fostering such abuse.

Among the abuse was the so-called “hotel custody program” where witnesses were detained against their will and allegedly pressured into false statements. A paralegal detailed how prosecutors used the alleged forced interrogations to get witnesses to support their cases.

In the Collins case, prosecutors secured the conviction for killing Abraham Pollack based on the testimony of three witnesses. His conviction was tossed out after it was discovered that prosecutor withheld evidence — a common abuse by prosecutors in many offices. It is the type of abuse that is rightfully blamed on the top management of the office who clearly do not punish prosecutors for such violations. Prosecutors would not withhold evidence unless they are being encouraged to game the system by hiding evidence or fighting every effort to disclose the full record for trials. In the case of Mr. Collins, he alleged that officers working on the case, Vincent Gerecitano and Jose. R. Hernandez, had pressured a heroin addict to implicate Mr. Collins. He also alleged that Mr. Vecchione had threatened the addict with prosecution and bodily harm unless he agreed to testify against Mr. Collins. His filings state that other witnesses reported the same strong arm tactics.

The order for Hynes to testify is long overdue. He should be held accountable for the abuse, but he should not be the only one. The question is when the New York bar will act to treat this type of prosecutorial abuse as a serious ethical violation by prosecutors.

Source: NY Times

17 thoughts on “Brooklyn District Attorney Ordered To Testify On Pattern Of Prosecutorial Abuses By His Office”

  1. Nick, you got the picture. The “child, mother and [I]” were also joined by about 200 other New Yorkers and New Jerseyites and in fact people from all over who literally worked for YEARS to try to correct this one appalling, stinking, filthy, criminal, atrocity. The Chief Judge of the NY Court of Appeals LIED IN WRITING to a NJ lawyer about the judge (Deutsch) in the NY court who had corruptly thrown the whole case into the sewer of corruption that even included corrupting physicians on staff at the State Hospital! To avoid the judge getting a finding of judicial ethics violations against him, this corrupt lying chief judge (fortunately I have forgotten her last name but her first name was Judith) told a NJ lawyer that the ethics-violating judge had retired from the Bench. They actually changed the signs in the courthouse to trick people for a couple of weeks and then his bronze was quietly restored and he was back in the saddle again not only making rulings in other people’s cases but skating past an undeniable ethics violation by sleight of hand. A well-known NY activist saw my letter to this chief judge and she yelled at me, “You have burned your bridges with that judge forever!” I remember saying: “And if you still have a bridge with her, where does that bridge lead? Does it lead to being able to save the life of any children that Deutsch and Hynes want to sacrifice or perhaps personally destroy? Because if you couldn’t cross that wonderful bridge to do it for this child, don’t imagine you can cross it to do it for anybody else either.”

    That activist never spoke to me again. She was one of NY’s top feminists — all over the media — but she knew she had NO POWER because if Deutsch and Hynes wanted a child raped, the kid was going to be raped. How does this make us any better than a court in, say, Iran or Afghanistan or Syria or Pakistan where they refuse to prosecute a wife-killer or a child-rapist or an “honor killer”?

    And I curse them now and will again with every breath as long as I live. Maybe longer.

  2. Malisha, I am serious when I say I love your passion. I know understand it. I have read up and this guy is the typical fat cat politician in an area where he’s pretty safe politically. But, when there were any challengers or potential challengers he used the power of his office to destroy them. We have a horrible problem because of our duopoly. But, when you have cities w/ a monopoly[Chicago, Detroit, etc.] then corruption is exponentially worse. I feel for that child, mother, and you. Power corrupts. And in this a$$hole’s case absolute power corrupts absolutely. We need more choices. “There is no freedom w/o choice.”

  3. Rafflaw, Nick, here’s why. In the early 90s I met a woman whose child was damn near killed. Because of Hynes’ conduct the child was again placed in a dangerous situation where she spent the rest of her youth being sexually and emotionally abused and where she suffered such extreme anorexia (untreated) that she became an extraordinarily mentally disturbed adult. Her case was mis-handled so corruptly that Hynes’ office created a cover-up that even included a finding by the New York State Panel on Infant Mortalities that her death was not anyone’s fault — and THEN they learned to their chagrin that she had not actually died! OOPS! 😳 So they covered up the cover-up of the cover-up and disappeared THAT file! HYNES DID ALL THIS and not just to HER, but to many other people.

    Then State Senator David Paterson held hearings on the case. Hynes’ office said they did not prosecute for the abuse of this child because — guess why? — because the child’s MOTHER was considered mentally ill (by them; there was no professional evaluation done) so they would not prosecute. I still remember Paterson’s words: “If the parent of every crime victim had to be found non-crazy before every prosecution we could save our money and let all the criminals go free.”

    It was Hynes’ way of saying that child was not entitled to the protection of his office. NO CHILDREN ARE. He is a lot worse than I made him out to be. If one day I were alone in a room with him, it would not be long before I had a right to remain silent.

  4. Malisha,
    I wish you wouldn’t hold back and tell us how you really feel about this guy!! 🙂

  5. Malisha, Tell us how you really feel about this guy. A prior rebuke was temperate and “civilized.” That’s usually laudable, but the more I’ve read about this guy I think your rant was much more righteous. Rant on, woman!

  6. How long (since early 90s) I have waited for this man to be found out and for his head to roll; HOW LOOOOOOOOOOOONG!

    He is an absolute Criminal. He is a gang boss child-killing criminal. May he rot in Hell long after he is thrown out, disbarred, charged and convicted for perhaps ten percent of his corruption (which would amount to mandatory sentences of two bronze ages and an ice age without parole) and somehow made to understand the depth of his own worthlessness.

    1. Had people truly believe in hell as it is prosecutors would not exist. Gods light gives Justice being Hell to evil. That light is correct 100% of the time.

  7. I agree with Gene. These prosecutors should be disbarred if found guilty. Disgusting.

  8. There is no “absolute immunity”. For prosecutors there is “prosecutorial immunity” . It does not extend to suborning perjury. In a civil rights suit under 42 United States Code, Section 1983, the prosecutor may have prosecutorial immunity as a state actor. Until you get down to a dirty rat case like this where the civil rights violation itself is the prosecution based on perjured testimony procured by the igPay state prosecutor. The lawyer who represents the freed man needs to get some statements from lower echelon people in the prosecutor’s office who will corroborate the perjury. Those statements can be admitted against the prosecutor (now defendant in federal court) as an admission of a party opponent. Rule 801(D)(2) or thereabouts. That rule on Admissions or statements of employees of the defendant is one of the toughest rules in the arsenal. The statements now of the witnesses who perjured themselves may be subject to cross examination and their other felonies will come out and they will not be as credible to the federal jury here on the civil rights case. If this prosecutor has ever been divorced then interview the ex wife and see if she will relate statements made by him back in the warm days of their relationship about getting witnesses to lie.

  9. Clearly prosecutors who withhold exculpatory evidence or coerce witnesses are primarily responsible for their actions.

    But I hold judges responsible too. It seems to me that they have the power to do more to assure that prosecutors play by the rules.

    If a judge becomes aware that a prosecutor has used these techniques why shouldn’t the presiding judge call the prosecutor back to the court to account for his actions?

    The techniques described make a mockery of the judicial process and turn the proceedings into a Kangaroo court.

    And it is not just the defendant who suffers from these techniques. When an innocent person is convicted it means a perpetrator remains free to prey on society.

    Prosecutors who fail to play by the rules should pay a heavy price professionally and with their personal freedom.

  10. Prosecutors are getting a taste of their own medicine. They don’t like the taste of it. I tell them over and over that God is judge over all. How the individual is is how they will fair being exposed to Gods glory. Prosecutors are like religious self righteous pharisees.

  11. I just did a quick read on this Hynes prick. His sleazy, vindictive prosecutions, some of political opponents, date back to the past millennium. But he is a loyal Dem. He should have been gone a long time ago.

  12. Charles Hynes became Brooklyn D.A. with a positive background in the mind of New Yorkers and had some laudable achievements. That was in 1989. I guessed as the years passed and he became entrenched in office his attitudes changed and his need to retain his fiefdom at all costs became obsession. When ego triumphs The Law suffers.

  13. If you knowingly withhold evidence? That should be an automatic lifetime disbarment.

  14. According to the Prosecutorial Handbook…. If you don’t have the information you want create it….. Henry Wade….who is the jury going to believe…

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