Thursday, August 11, 2011
DA Brown and the falsely accused
From the Daily News:
The day Ryan Dufort was charged with murder in a beatdown at a Queens karaoke club, he was a 15-year-old high-schooler who had never been inside a police station.
When he walked out of jail two months ago - acquitted of all charges - he was 20 years old.
He spent five years behind bars as his case slogged through the courts. He was there so long he earned a Regents diploma, put on 25 pounds, grew two inches and became eligible to vote.
Those years were taken from him as the result of what appears to be law enforcement mishandling of the case, a Daily News probe has found.
The News found crucial documents were missing and defense lawyers were not told that the lone eyewitness' identification of Dufort was shaky.
Cops and prosecutors must give defense lawyers all documents, statements and interviews of witnesses.
In Dufort's case, the NYPD reports - called DD5s - that would have raised questions about Dufort's identification by a single witness are either missing or were withheld.
Only four DD5s were produced in Dufort's case, an extremely small amount for a murder case, several prosecutors and defense lawyers told The News.
One DD5 summarized Dufort's statement to cops; another described Dufort's lineup. None addressed what the sole eyewitness told police about Dufort.
From the NY Times:
About a year after he moved into her house in Queens, their relationship soured. One day, he cornered her, taped her mouth and raped her, she said. Mr. Ramrattan was arrested.
But he soon took his revenge, the authorities said. Drawing on his knowledge of police procedure, gleaned from his time as an informer for law enforcement, he accomplished what prosecutors in New York called one of the most elaborate framing plots that they had ever seen.
One night, Ms. Sumasar was pulled over by the police. Before she could speak, detectives slapped handcuffs on her. “You know you did it,” she said one later shouted at her. “Just admit it.”
Ms. Sumasar, a former Morgan Stanley analyst who was running a restaurant, said she had no idea what that meant. Yet suddenly, she was being treated like a brazen criminal. She was charged with carrying out a series of armed robberies, based on what the police said was a wealth of evidence, including credible witness statements and proof that her car was the getaway vehicle.
In her first extensive interview about her ordeal, she recalled sitting in jail, consumed by one thought: “Jerry is behind this.”
But when she insisted to the authorities that he had set her up, they belittled her claims.
Now, though, they concede that Ms. Sumasar was right — an astonishing turn of events that has transformed her case into one of the most bizarre in the city’s recent history.
They released her from jail last December after seven months, acknowledging that the entire case against her had been concocted by Mr. Ramrattan, officials said.