Remember Detective Louis Scarcella, aka one of the “likeable scamps” who put David Ranta away for 22 years?
The other shoe has dropped.
The [Brooklyn district attorney's] office’s Conviction Integrity Unit will reopen every murder case that resulted in a guilty verdict after being investigated by Detective Louis Scarcella, a flashy officer who handled some of Brooklyn’s most notorious crimes during the crack epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s.
The development comes after The New York Times examined a dozen cases involving Mr. Scarcella and found disturbing patterns, including the detective’s reliance on the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions [Emphasis added - DB] and his delivery of confessions from suspects who later said they had told him nothing. At the same time, defense lawyers, inmates and prisoner advocacy organizations have contacted the district attorney’s office to share their own suspicions about Mr. Scarcella.
And more. I don’t want to quote the entire article, but this is an important paragraph because it illustrates a key point: what you post on the Internet doesn’t disappear.
A prosecutor’s view of Ms. Gomez is available in an Internet posting on a cigar-smokers forum. Neil Ross, a former assistant district attorney who is now a Manhattan criminal court judge, prosecuted the two Hill cases. In a 2000 posting, he reminisced about a cigar he received from the “legendary detective” Louis Scarcella as they celebrated in a bar after the Hill conviction.
In the post, Mr. Ross said that the evidence backed up Ms. Gomez but acknowledged, “It was near folly to even think that anyone would believe Gomez about anything, let alone the fact that she witnessed the same guy kill two different people.”
Ms. Gomez is the crack addicted prostitute mentioned above. She’s dead now.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to manage a motel in the Rundberg/I-35 area? The Statesman has your answer.
(Note to my out-of-town readers: the Rundberg/I-35 corridor is notorious as a haven for drug dealing and prostitution.)
Austin politics note (readers who aren’t into Austin politics can skip this one):
We had an election yesterday. Specifically, we were asked to vote on bonds for the Austin Independent School District.
There were four bond proposals on the ballot, totaling $892 million. That’s right: AISD wanted to issue nearly one billion dollars worth of bonds.
This is one of the few times where I’ve actually seen organized opposition to a bond election in Austin. There were a lot of large “vote no” signs in yards and in front of businesses. Surprisingly, even the Statesman came out and opposed the bonds. (Our local alternative newspaper, the Austin Chronicle, endorsed the bonds. But the AusChron has never met a tax, a bond issue, or a government boondoggle they didn’t like.)
The end result: half the bonds passed, and half the bonds failed. This is kind of a “WTF?” moment: you’d figure the voting would go all one way or the other. Then again…
Proposition 2, which totaled $234 million, would have relieved overcrowded schools, which district officials said were among the most critical needs on campuses. The proposition contained three new schools and campus additions that district officials say are desperately needed. It also would have funded a 500-seat performing arts center at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, something critics called a luxury.
“a 500-seat performing arts center at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders”?!
Proposition 4 would have provided $168.6 million for academic programs, fine arts and athletics. That measure had several controversial proposals in it, most notably $20 million for renovations to the old Anderson High School to create an all-boys school.
Those are the propositions that failed.
Proposition 1, which passed by just a few hundred votes, will provide $140.6 million for health, environment, equipment and technology. The bulk of Proposition 1 will go to technology upgrades, including new computers and networks, and will pump money into energy conservation initiatives.
Proposition 3, the other one that passed, “provides money for renovations across the district”. Proposition 1 and 3 together total out to $489.6 million, and “will add $38.40 to the property tax bill for a $200,000 home.”