According to The Wall Street Journal (here), Federal Court Judge Frederic Block expressed frustration with the apparent indifference Brooklyn (NY) District Attorney Charles Hynes has shown in response to the “aberrational behavior” of one of his top prosecutors in a case that led to the wrongful conviction of Jabbar Collins in the 1994 murder of Rabbi Abraham Pollack.
Collins, a 10th grade drop-out with high school equivalency and some college, proclaimed his innocence and dedicated himself in prison to utilizing state and federal records laws to obtain information about his case. He bumped into denials but eventually received the requested materials including previously undisclosed information, enough to gain his exoneration after he’d served 16 years in prison.
Collins and his lawyer are now suing the City of Brooklyn including Brooklyn’s District Attorney Charles Hynes and one of his top prosecutors, chief of the Rackets Bureau, Michael Vecchione.
Referencing Vecchione’s alleged tactics, the lawsuit includes, “Jailing a potential witness for more that two weeks and threatening to hit him with a table if he didn’t cooperate; failing to disclose that another witness recanted before the trial; and lying about the existence of documents” that Mr. Collins had requested.
Three witnesses in the case against Collins later recanted.
According to The Wall Street Journal article, Judge Block indicated his frustration with Hynes’s failure to address the behavior or the alleged contributing office culture that led to the wrongful conviction. “Name one thing he’s done in light of Vecchione’s aberrational behavior?” the judge asked the attorney representing the city.
Judge Block is urging the city to settle the lawsuit.