Legal Aid's Chief Attorney Tells The New York Times That 50 Potential Wrongful Conviction Cases Under Investigation In Brooklyn Are Just The Tip Of The Iceberg

In the latest article in a continuing series of stories involving the conduct of a Brooklyn homicide detective and potential wrongful convictions in cases in which he was involved, The New York Times reported that The Legal Aid Society, which represents 20 of the 50 people whose cases were reopened by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office, is concerned that the prosecutors’ review is too narrow, because it is limited to cases in which retired Detective Louis Scarcella testified in court.

“There are literally hundreds of cases that could be affected,” Steven Banks, the Society's Attorney-in-Chief, told the Times. “It stands to reason that these 50 are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s enough evidence that Scarcella may not have acted alone. A fair look would require a much broader inquiry,” Banks added.

Scarcella is at the center of a controversy that began in March when David Ranta was released after 23 years in prison when the Brooklyn District Attorney's office reported that Scarcella, the lead detective, had committed a number of errors. This most recent New York Times article also focused on the conduct of his partner, Stephen W. Chmil. In prior New York Times articles on these matters, Banks has reaffirmed the Society's longstanding position that independent oversight of prosecutors is needed.