New York City judge dismisses 133 felony cases connected to disgraced detective

Alec Tabak via AP file
·2 min read

A New York judge dismissed felony convictions against 133 defendants in cases linked to potential tainted testimony from a disgraced former detective, authorities said Thursday.

Bronx Supreme Court Justice David Lewis granted prosecution requests to dismiss felonies, involving former NYPD Detective Joseph Franco, that had been entered between 2011 and 2015, according to the Bronx District Attorney's Office.

With previous Bronx dismissals linked to Franco, there have now been 257 felony convictions in The Bronx tossed amid questions about the detective's testimony, District Attorney Darcel Clark said.

The Bronx DA’s Conviction Integrity Bureau has reviewed more than 600 cases involving Franco, who worked undercover narcotics in the borough between 2011 and 2015.

In 2017 and 2018, Franco worked narcotics in Manhattan where he’s awaiting trial for perjury for allegedly lying about seeing drug deals. Manhattan prosecutors indicted Franco in 2019, accusing him of lying in testimony and paperwork about witnessing drug transactions that security camera footage showed never took place. The police department fired him in April 2020.

Prosecutors are working with defense lawyers to undo another 250 Bronx cases, meaning more than 500 convictions in the borough could ultimately be kicked.

Not all cases involving Franco are being erased, only those that relied heavily on his work, the county's top prosecutor insisted.

"We did not want to dismiss or vacate out of hand all cases he was involved in; we investigated those that hinged on his testimony and sworn statements," Clark said in a statement.

"His compromised credibility suggests a lack of due process in the prosecution of these defendants, and we cannot stand behind these convictions."

Dozens of cases, involving Franco’s work in Brooklyn, are also seeking to be undone by the DA in that borough.

A rep for the Detectives’ Endowment Association, the union that represents NYPD detectives, could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

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