Westchester County

Westchester DA to Review Cases of Retiring Yonkers Detective Amid Perjury Claim

The detective and other officers had the authority to search the first two floors of a building — but also allegedly broke into the third floor, where they found "a large quantity" of cocaine, crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia

the judge's stand inside a courtroom with a US flag in the background

What to Know

  • The cases involving a retiring Yonkers detective will be reviewed by the Westchester DA amid allegations he falsified a search warrant
  • "If we determine that any conviction was the result of an illegal action ... we will immediately move to vacate the conviction," the DA said
  • A spokeswoman said prosecutors do not know how many cases Fogarty handled because their review just began

Prosecutors in Westchester County said Thursday they were reviewing all cases involving a retiring Yonkers police detective accused of falsifying a search warrant application.

The Westchester County district attorney, Anthony A. Scarpino, announced the review two weeks after a man he described as "wrongly accused" filed a federal lawsuit against Detective Sean Fogarty and several of his colleagues.

"If we determine that any conviction was the result of an illegal action by Det. Fogarty, we will immediately move to vacate the conviction," Scarpino said in a news release.

A spokeswoman said prosecutors do not know how many cases Fogarty handled because their review just began.

Fogarty did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The Yonkers Police Department declined to comment.

A retired NYPD detective whose investigative tactics have come under scrutiny as part of a review into old convictions in Brooklyn was confronted in court Wednesday by two men who claim they were wrongly jailed due in part to his testimony. Marc Santia reports.

Fogarty had been assigned to a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force when he and other officers searched the Bronx home of tax preparer Calvin Powell in April 2018.

Powell lives with his family in the first-floor apartment of a building he owns; the lawsuit says he rents out the second and third floors.

According to the lawsuit, Fogarty and the other officers had the authority to search the first two floors of the building but also broke into the third floor, where they found "a large quantity" of cocaine, crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia inside a locked closet.

At the time of the search, Powell had been on probation after serving a 10-year federal sentence for selling cocaine.

The lawsuit says the officers "falsely claimed" they found the drugs in Powell's possession.

A wrongful murder conviction has prompted Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to call for a re-examination of dozens of convictions in cases handled by retired detective Louis Scarcella. Brynn Gingras reports.

Powell was jailed for more than four months before prosecutors dropped drug-related charges against him, the lawsuit says.

A criminal court judge ordered a review of the evidence after Powell's attorney claimed photographs of the search proved the narcotics had been found on the third floor, the lawsuit says.

Prosecutors dismissed the charges in September 2018, the lawsuit says, after conceding the evidence had been found on the third floor of the apartment.

The lawsuit says Powell's father died while he was in custody and that he was denied the opportunity to be with him during his finals days because of the false drug charges.

A DEA spokeswoman referred questions about Fogarty to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan, which declined to comment.

Contact Us