The race for Brooklyn District Attorney is becoming a bit of a slugfest. First, there was word that longtime Democratic incumbent Charles Hynes' office was getting a reality show right in the middle of the race. Then, Democratic opponent Abe George filed a lawsuit to block the show from airing. Then Hynes' office disclosed a review of 50 old Brooklyn homicide convictions tied to a particular NYPD detective, since retired.
And now, another Democratic candidate, Ken Thompson, wants Governor Andrew Cuomo to name a special prosecutor to do that review instead. "It has become clear that, considering this troubling pattern of prosecutorial misconduct and wrongful convictions, District Attorney Hynes is not capable of overseeing a truly independent review of his own cases," Thompson said in a statement.
Hynes' campaign blasted back with this rejoinder from spokesman George Arzt: "Mr. Thompson's bombast is irresponsible and clearly politically motivated devoid of any knowledge of the facts."
The cases in question involve the work of Detective Louis Scarcella, who has been retired for many years. Previous news reports alleged that the cases included fabricated confessions, improper interrogations, and the use of a prostitute as a key witness in six cases. The conviction in one of those cases, involving a man named David Ranta, has already been set aside, and Ranta has been freed after 20 years in prison. He has alleged that he raised repeated question about the facts of the case and the conduct of prosecutors, but Hynes office ignored him.