Bronx DA dropping 133 cases linked to indicted NYPD detective Joseph Franco
More than 130 convictions that relied on the testimony of former undercover NYPD detective Joseph Franco were thrown out by a Bronx judge on Thursday — the latest in a wave of dismissals tied to the disgraced ex-cop.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice David Lewis granted the motion to drop the felony cases against 133 defendants who were indicted between 2011 and 2015.
Franco, who was fired by the NYPD in April 2020, is awaiting trial in Manhattan on charges he framed innocent people by lying about observing them dealing drugs.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Bureau launched a review of the ex-cop’s cases after he was indicted in April 2019 for perjury, official misconduct and other charges.
“We did not want to dismiss or vacate out of hand all cases he was involved in; we investigated those that hinged on his testimony and sworn statements,” Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement.
“[Franco’s] compromised credibility suggests a lack of due process in the prosecution of these defendants, and we cannot stand behind these convictions.”
At least 257 Bronx convictions that depended on Franco’s sworn statements and testimony before a grand jury have been dismissed so far, including the 133 tossed Thursday.
Another 250 convictions are under review — meaning the number of Bronx cases tied to Franco that end up getting dropped could hit 500, Clark said.
The DA’s office said it couldn’t provide details about the dismissed cases, as they are now sealed.
Dozens of convictions linked to the ex-cop have already been tossed in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Public defenders hailed Clark’s move to vacate the convictions involving the alleged crooked cop.
There are another 250 cases tied to Franco that are still under review.
“Criminal convictions largely based on the work of corrupt former or active NYPD officers who engaged in misconduct while executing their duties flies in the face of the oaths officers take to protect and serve New Yorkers,” said Elizabeth Felber, director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society, in a statement.
Prosecutors have alleged Franco lied in official records when he worked as an undercover Narcotics detective in Manhattan in 2017 and 2018.
Franco claimed that he had witnessed several drug deals but video evidence later debunked his accounts, prosecutors said.
Two of the defendants were serving state prison sentences when Franco’s alleged criminal conduct came to light.
The disgraced detective has pleaded not guilty. His next hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court is set for Monday.