DA wants to dismiss 90 convictions tied to ex-NYPD detective accused of perjury

Minyvonne Burke
·2 min read

A Brooklyn, New York, district attorney wants to dismiss 90 convictions tied to a former New York City Police Department detective accused of framing numerous suspects.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced Wednesday that he's going to ask the court to vacate and dismiss 27 felony convictions and 63 misdemeanor convictions that were based on work conducted by former undercover NYPD detective Joseph Franco.

Franco was indicted by a New York County grand jury in April 2019 on numerous charges, including official misconduct and 16 counts of first-degree perjury. Three months later, he was indicted on 10 additional counts of perjury.

The indictments stem from four incidents in which he's accused of "framing numerous individuals for making narcotics transactions."

He was fired by the NYPD in May, and is currently awaiting trial on both indictments.

Gonzalez said that a review by his office's Conviction Review Unit "did not uncover misconduct," but he has "lost confidence" in cases that could have not been prosecuted without Franco.

“Knowingly and repeatedly framing innocent people obliterates the credibility of any police officer and proving perjury in such circumstances is rare," he said in a statement. "After a grand jury reviewed the evidence and indicted former Detective Franco, I have lost confidence in his work."

"His cases in Brooklyn are over a decade old, which limited our ability to reinvestigate them, but I cannot in good faith stand by convictions that principally relied on his testimony. Integrity and credibility are at the heart of the justice system and prerequisites for community trust," the district attorney added.

The felony convictions were mostly for the criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third or fifth degree, the district attorney said. Offenders were sentenced to between six months and a year in jail, with the longest sentence being three years in prison.

The misdemeanor convictions were mostly for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, according the statement. Those convicted were sentenced to terms ranging from time served to 90 days in jail.

All of the cases stemmed from arrests made between 2004 to 2011, and all of the convictions except one were obtained by the suspect pleading guilty.

Franco's lawyers and the court have already been notified of the request to dismiss the convictions.