Notorious NYPD detective no stranger to overturned convictions over the past decade – New York Daily News

Posted By on June 17, 2022

The reputation of once-renowned NYPD Det. Louis Scarcella took another hit with the latest legal rebuke of his crime-busting tactics.

A 15th conviction secured by Scarcella during the 80s and 90s was overturned Wednesday, one in a series of legal reversals that has cost the city more than $50 million in payouts to wrongly convicted suspects later cleared. Scarcella has repeatedly denied any misconduct.

Retired Brooklyn homicide detective Louis Scarcella testifies at the wrongful conviction hearing of John Bunn at the New York State Supreme Courthouse in Brooklyn in 2015. (Jesse Ward for New York Daily Ne/New York Daily News)

The first case dates to 1990, when the Brooklyn-based Scarcella busted unemployed drug addict David Ranta for the high-profile murder of a Hasidic rabbi despite the lack of any physical evidence. But the cigar-smoking detectives work was undone when the conviction was reversed 23 years later, with Ranta set free to collect a $6.4 million city payout.

David Ranta kisses a family member after Judge Miriam Cyrulnik freed him, in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn, New York, on Thursday, March 21, 2013. Ranta, 58, who spent more than two decades behind bars was freed by a New York City judge after a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the Feb. 8, 1990 shooting of Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger. (Richard Drew/AP)

Five years after Rantas arrest, 23-year-old Jabbar Washington was convicted in a robbery/shooting and spent 20 years in prison before his release. He testified that his confession was coerced when Scarcella beat him, choked him and squeezed his testicles. Washington settled for $5.75 million from the city and $1.65 million from the state

Shawn Williams, despite a lack of forensic evidence and an alibi for the fatal shooting of his neighbor, was convicted in 1994 and spent 24 years in prison before his case was overturned when an eyewitness recanted his testimony. Earlier this year, the city agreed to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit for $10.5 million dollars.

Wrongfully convicted killer Sundhe Moses did 18 years in a case investigated by Scarcella for the killing of a 4-year-old roller-skating girl shot in a dispute between street gangs. He also alleged the detective choked and beat him to secure a confession, and was finally freed in 2013 when an eyewitness recanted his testimony. The verdict was finally reversed in 2018.

Sundhe Moses reunites with friends Shareka Jones (left) and Jahmeelah Hardy (right) at his mother's home in Downtown Brooklyn on December 3, 2014, after being released from prison after serving 18 years for the shooting death of a 4-year-old-girl. (Pearl Gabel/New York Daily News)

Not even an alibi spared Derrick Hamilton from a wrong conviction in a Brooklyn murder while he was living in New Haven, Conn. He spent 23 years behind bars, studying criminal law and eventually convincing prosecutors to overturn the verdict. In 2019, Hamilton received a $7 million settlement in a lawsuit where he charged Scarcella and two other cops had fabricated evidence in the case.

Derrick Hamilton at State Supreme Court in Brooklyn where he was officially exonerated of a 1991 homicide. (Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)

And Shabaka Shakur was wrongfully convicted in 1989 for the double murder of two former high-school classmates one year earlier. Scarcella testified the suspect confessed to killing the men after an argument over car payments, although Shakur denied that was true.

Shabaka Shakur, right, convicted of killing two men in 1988, appeared at a hearing Tuesday, July 1, 2014 to decide if the case will be re-tried. (Aaron Showalter/New York Daily News)

After 27 years in prison, his conviction was vacated after a judge found a reasonable probability that Shakurs alleged confession was indeed fabricated. The city and state paid him a combined $8.3 million in damages.

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Notorious NYPD detective no stranger to overturned convictions over the past decade - New York Daily News

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