DAs tossing more drug cases tied to NYPD detective accused of framing innocent people

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Joseph Franco

FILE – In this April 24, 2019, file photo, former New York City Police Department Detective Joseph Franco, center, leaves a Manhattan Supreme Court courtroom, in New York. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office said Thursday, April 15, 2021, that in the coming weeks, it will move to vacate and dismiss about 100 cases in which ex-Detective Franco served as a key witness. (Alec Tabak via AP, File)

NEW YORK — New York City prosecutors will seek to overturn scores of additional drug convictions involving an indicted former NYPD detective accused of framing innocent people in some cases.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s office said Thursday that it will move in the coming weeks to vacate and dismiss about 100 cases in which Joseph Franco served as an essential witness.

The office already dismissed about 40 open cases where Det. Franco was an essential witness.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark’s office is reviewing about 150 cases involving Franco, a spokesperson said. The Conviction integrity Unit has reviewed 116 of the 150 cases.

Manhattan prosecutors indicted Franco on perjury charges in 2019. The police department fired him in April 2020.

Franco’s lawyer has said the dismissals could harm his right to a fair trial.

Prosecutors in Brooklyn asked the court to throw out 90 drug convictions connected to Franco.

The Exoneration Project, The Legal Aid Society, The Bronx Defenders, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, New York County Defender Services, The Office of the Appellate Defender and The Center for Appellate Litigation issues a joint statement following the news:

“Although their actions came late, we thank DA Vance and DA Clark for taking this necessary step to right many of the injustices created by Detective Franco’s documented misdeeds. Franco’s actions led to wrongful convictions that upended the lives of so many New Yorkers, the majority of whom were Black, Brown, or poor. We call on all five New York City District Attorneys to review all convictions in which officers with histories of misconduct played a role. Prosecutors must take an affirmative role in rooting out police abuses similar to those committed by Franco so New Yorkers know that this kind of brazen misconduct and the presumed impunity from the law that underlies it will no longer be tolerated.”

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