Posted: March 20, 2013 4:40 PM
David Ranta, convicted of killing a beloved Brooklyn Rabbi in a foiled 1990 robbery, has been cleared of the crime with help from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, and he will be freed on Thursday. According to The New York Times, police misconduct and fabricated informant testimony contributed to the wrongful conviction. One witness after another recanted, and, recently, the case completely unraveled. The New York Times reports:
Detective Scarcella and his partner, Stephen Chmil, according to investigators and legal documents, broke rule after rule. They kept few written records, coached a witness and took Mr. Ranta’s confession under what a judge described as highly dubious circumstances. They allowed two dangerous criminals, an investigator said, to leave jail, smoke crack cocaine and visit with prostitutes in exchange for incriminating Mr. Ranta.
Of the witnesses who testified against Ranta, one admitted that she lied in an attempt to help her incarcerated boyfriend, one admitted to implicating Ranta in order to reduce his own sentence, and one revealed that police told him which person to choose from the lineup.
Ranta told The New York Times:
“I’d lie there in the cell at night and I think: I’m the only one in the world who knows I’m innocent,” he said. “I came in here as a 30-something with kids, a mother who was alive. This case killed my whole life.”
Ranta was represented by Michael Baum of Brooklyn Defender Services and Pierre Sussman.
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