The city's narcotics prosecutor will seek to have 24 drug-related convictions vacated and dismissed after the cases had direct ties to an NYPD detective who has been accused of framing innocent individuals.
In addition to the 24 dismissals, consisting of 18 felony indictments ad six misdemeanor complaints, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan announced that her office will move to have four addition arrest records sealed. Three of those individuals have already had their felony charges dismissed after completing diversion programs, and the fourth previously pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge, Brennan's office said.
The dismissals and sealed records comes as a result of NYPD Detective Joseph Franco — who played a role in each of the cases — being indicted in 2019 on perjury charges, according to the prosecutor's office. Franco was fired from the department in May 2020 following a disciplinary trial in which the judge found the disgraced detective had testified falsely under oath.
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From 2009 until 2018, Franco working in narcotics throughout the city, working with DAs in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan as a member of different narcotics squad, Brennan said in an announcement.
The prosecutor's office said they will seek to dismiss any case in which Franco was an essential witness, meaning the case would not been prosecuted without him.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office said in April that, in the coming weeks, it will move to vacate and dismiss about 100 cases in which the ex-detective served as an key witness. Vance’s office previously dismissed about 40 open cases involving Franco, Vance spokesperson Danny Frost said.
Brooklyn prosecutors last week tossed out 90 convictions because of concerns about Franco’s integrity. Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, in securing the dismissal of mostly low-level drug convictions that relied on Franco’s testimony, said last week that he had “lost confidence” in the former detective’s work. Gonzalez’s office, however, said it had found no evidence of the kind of misconduct alleged in the indictment.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark’s office is reviewing about 150 drug cases involving Franco and will seek dismissal of all in which Franco played an essential role. Most of the charges resulted in a guilty plea, the office said.
A Clark spokesperson said that the office found Franco to be key to most of the 116 cases it has scrutinized thus far. In the vast majority of those cases, the spokesperson said, Franco acted as an undercover buyer who provided information leading to an arrest.