After 23 years in prison, murder conviction vacated

From Reuters:

David Ranta, 58, spent 23 years in prison until the conviction integrity unit of the Brooklyn district attorney’s office concluded after a year-long investigation that the case against him was fatally flawed.

The whole case reeks of sleazy self-serving police work wherein an innocent man was convicted in 1991 and the real killer went free.  Police coached a 13 year old witness who to pick out of a police line-up.   A jail house snitch testified against Ranta in exchange for a lighter sentence.   One of the investigating cops claimed to have elicited a confession, but provided no corroborating evidence.  The actual target of the robbery testified that Ranta was “100 percent not” the killer.

When the case started to fall apart, prosecutors aggressively maintained the validity of the conviction.  In 1996 a woman testified that her deceased husband confessed to the murder and, in fact, an anonymous tipster actually identified the same man shortly after the murder.

It’s not about catching the bad guys.  It’s about getting a conviction, sometimes at any cost.

The case is the latest in a string of wrongful convictions that have gained media attention in recent months, creating a headache for Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who faces a rare primary challenge in September as he runs for a seventh four-year term.

On Wednesday, a federal judge blocked Hynes’ office from retrying a man, William Lopez, whose 1989 murder conviction was overturned earlier this year after questions arose about witness accounts.

In 2010, a federal judge freed another man, Jabbar Collins, after he spent 16 years in prison for allegedly shooting his landlord. U.S. District Judge Dora Irizarry concluded that Brooklyn prosecutors had relied on false testimony and threatened a witness and faulted Hynes’ office for continuing to deny any wrongdoing.

You can be sure that none of the cops or prosecutors responsible for these corrupt life-destroying convictions will ever face any consequences, which is precisely why these abuses of power are repeated constantly everywhere in the country.  Ranta’s lawyer plans to sue New York, but any judgement will be paid, not by the government employees who destroyed Ranta’s life, but by New York taxpayers.  The U.S. justice system takes care of its own.