Brooklyn Deserves a New D.A.

Why the 23-year reign of Charles Hynes must end

Five months later, in January 2012, police arrested a second suspect, Gregory Johnson. On January 30, ADA Silver took the Johnson case to another grand jury. This time, Awardeh and his boss testified that Johnson was the gunman. The grand jury indicted him, too.

In other words, even as Bozeman sat in Rikers, the same prosecutor was knowingly using the same two witnesses to secure the indictment of another man for the same crime. "The prosecution of two people as the same gunman is a clear violation of due process," says Gershman, the Pace University Law professor. "The courts do not allow prosecutors to pursue inconsistent theories."

Bozeman's lawyer Mark Bederow was deeply concerned about the contradictory indictments, and last June, shortly after he took over the case, he started pressing Silver's office for more documents, making at least six formal requests and numerous informal ones to prosecutor Sabeeha Madni over the next five months. He was largely ignored. Bozeman continued to fester in jail.

The Kingpin: Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes assumes the position during a December press conference. In his sixth term, he has become mired in controversy.
Caleb Ferguson
The Kingpin: Brooklyn D.A. Charles Hynes assumes the position during a December press conference. In his sixth term, he has become mired in controversy.
Hynes was excoriated by a federal judge for protecting prosecutor Michael Vecchione in the midst of misconduct allegations.
Courtesy CNBC
Hynes was excoriated by a federal judge for protecting prosecutor Michael Vecchione in the midst of misconduct allegations.

On October 18, Bederow wrote Madni again, and received her e-mail telling him to "relax" and insisting that no documents she possessed would exonerate his client.

Eventually, Bederow found out enough about the case to convince him it should be dismissed:

He learned that the key witness, Awardeh, picked out Bozeman after he had identified a third man as the robber; prosecutors didn't tell Bederow about that ID for five months.

He learned that the third man, Edicy Reedy, was identified by police as a suspect weeks before they arrested Bozeman, but that they never ran down the lead even though Reedy's cell phone was found in the backseat of the SUV, and his DNA was on the handle of the bag left in the car by one of the perps. Prosecutors never placed Reedy in a lineup or questioned him before indicting Bozeman.

And Bederow learned that Bozeman's DNA on the white cloth was the only forensic evidence against him. Neither DNA nor fingerprints were found outside the bag or anywhere on the SUV.

"Based upon any reasonable interpretation of this material," Bederow wrote in late November, in a 10-page letter calling for dismissal of the charges, "it is clear that the D.A. had knowledge that prosecution against Mr. Bozeman was unwarranted at the very time it approved his arrest, and sought his indictment, remand, and lifetime incarceration."

Incredibly, even on October 18, after many of these glaring weaknesses had been exposed in the year-old case, Madni still pushed for a guilty plea. "Let's have a conversation again about whether we can agree on any disposition on this case," she wrote.

On December 12, six weeks after her e-mail to Bederow, Madni was forced to watch as her boss dropped all charges against Bozeman and ordered his release.

Bederow told the Voice that Madni's e-mail demonstrated "a fundamental lack of understanding of constitutional rights and an indifference to investigating serious claims about a man who should not have been prosecuted."

Hynes's spokesman counters that within two days of Bederow's document request, he got what he was seeking, specifically the outcome of a lineup. But a series of e-mails between Bederow and Madni clearly show Bederow was asking for far more than a single lineup. And another e-mail, dated four days after Schmetterer says the material was turned over, shows that even then Bederow still hadn't gotten everything. As for Schmetterer's contention that Hynes prosecutors discovered the problem (with a previous lineup) and brought it to the court's attention, that ignores the fact that Bederow had been raising those issues for months.

In the end, prosecutors did get one conviction: Johnson eventually pleaded guilty. But when Hynes's office finally went after Reedy a year later, they were stymied. Having said for two years that there were just two suspects, they could not suddenly come back and accuse a third robber in the crime. They were forced to decline to prosecute Reedy.

In the wake of the dismissal, Bederow has been busy. He sent a letter demanding that Hynes investigate the conduct of Madni, Lauren Silver, and their bosses. He wants an inquiry into whether any cops perjured themselves or falsified records. And he demanded that Hynes seek perjury indictments against the witnesses.

"The D.A. consistently ignored red flags brought to its attention, which would have resulted in a reasonable prosecutor promptly dismissing the case," he wrote. "Mr. Bozeman lost over a year of his life because of the D.A.'s failure to properly investigate this case and supervise its prosecutors."

That seems to be becoming a theme.

grayman@villagevoice.com

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15 comments
laindia1011
laindia1011

that is  so so so true,what this reporter wrote about the D.A' s office.   as a parent i spent so much money (my pension) to  prove my son's innocent due to that fact that the D.A.'s  office held very important information.regarding  my son's innocent(  Three(3) years worth of going to court (very stress ful and broke)  Their has to be an oversight committee put in place it's call accountability.

jake68jake1
jake68jake1

Cindy - what a huge and unpleasant surprise you're in for if Hynes is not re-elected. You think that a new DA will take it easy on your community? (You're obviously Hasidic). A new DA will swiftly and strongly show how " different" he is from Hynes by indicting and prosecuting as many Hasidim as humanly possible. He will cloak the effort under the guise of "finally doing justice." You and your ilk are so naive and limited by your egocentric, sheltered and arrogant worldview that you can't see any vision of reality. Hynes has been nothing but fair in his approach to these prosecutions, but what does he get for it? Vilified by victim's advocates when his efforts to bring cases are thwarted, and lambasted by Hasidic community leaders when he brings cases. It's a lose-lose that's been turned into a political issue by his rivals. Keep being naive and You'll get what you deserve.

taospark
taospark

@jake68jake1 Wait, so your rationale for letting Hynes stay in office despite valid criticisms is because a potential rival is going to persecute one of the most powerful voting blocs in Brooklyn?


In what realm of possibility is that anyone's realistic expectation?

CindyTown
CindyTown

Charles Hynes our DA, is see through,  when he wants the Orthodox votes, he tampers evidence and gets someone imprisoned for killing a Rabbi, that guy proved he wasnt the one and he is out of prison . 

Now he wants to show a small minority that he is anti orthodox, he illegally indites, Yigutkin and Weberman and stands behind the clown N Rosenberg. 

Hey DA, your off the track, wait until you are either taken down or beaten by landslide.   Hey Guys,,, Thompson or Gorges time to take over.  Youll get the orthodox in a full bloc and throw him right over.  Instead of giving a fair trial ,Charles Hynes to show he is not on orthodox side,  arraigns and indites and influences  illegally . In between there are other cases to  show.    What a fool of a person who finally reached  an old age.  DA imprisoned people and he sits on the victory of it.  Did he particularly make sure its without reasonable doubt? Or does he want to show that he is  not treating  Orthodox unfairly? 

You can do it the righteous way not the uncaring way.  Sorry your tripping on your own garbage.

If the Media is reporting half heartily,  only so that there is a good listen  and follow, understandable (although it isnt fair) But a District Attorney is irresponsible, if he does it, and should be toppled over. 

If you want to reach the orthodox and campaign against Charles Hynes, ask the village voice to contact me , and Ill check out if you are for real.


Cindy T


Vincenzo
Vincenzo

Graham:
Thank you for penning this piece. Just wanted to add my two cents:


The mention of John O'Hara's troubles with Hynes could have been elaborated upon a bit more, especially since the issue wasn't so cut and dried. You neglected to mention an ancillary issue - the case of the Kung-Fu Judge, who was stripped of his wealth, his properties and eventually, his life. Being declared "incompetent" and getting remanded to an entity purporting to be an assisted care living facility that acted more like a remote wing of San Quentin would hamper your chances of putting up a successful campaign of running for the office of the District Attorney of Brooklyn, I imagine.


A second issue which I think would have really put the icing on the cake is the "Grid Kid" slaying, also known as the case of John Giuca in the murder of Mark Fisher. From the issue of witnesses who should have been suspects, to the issue of juror misconduct, I wonder how mention of this case dropped between the slats.


I did learn about many other cases, thanks to your article, but I think adding this information would have really made your article a home run. As it is, I'd like to see this double play steal third base, with no outs.

http://www.r8ny.com/blog/1020

jake68jake1
jake68jake1

Oh yeah, Hynes panders to Jews by putting their leaders in prison.  Good one.  What - you say that he just recently started doing that, just to cover his ass?  Well why don't you ask any defense attorney who has handled a sex crimes case in Brooklyn in the last 15 years, how many prosecutions against Jews (or anyone else) have they seen "let go" or swept under the rug - the answer will be ZERO.  In fact, such cases are over-prosecuted.  They go after such defendants mercilessly, often too much so (because not every defendant is actually guilty).  The reality here is far different from the perception.  It's just easy for idiots without first-hand knowledge to say, "yeah, Hynes is in bed with the Jews, they control everything, they get their cases swept aside."  It's total nonsense.  The sex cases against Hasidic Jews that ended in probation or dismissal did so because the victim (or his/her family) wanted it that way, to avoid a public trial.  It's their community's fault for intimidating or ostracizing the victims, and for making it virtually impossible for Hynes to indict anyone for tampering.  Get some direct experience, learn some facts, and let go of the casual conclusions and rumors.

Bklynsfinest
Bklynsfinest

@jake68jake1 Jake Tell the truth here, do you work for Mr. Hynes, Or are you applying for a soon to be opening in his office.

XProsecutor
XProsecutor like.author.displayName 1 Like

Mr. Hynes panders to the Jews. No Lie. No Bullshit. No justice . Politics

jake68jake1
jake68jake1

This is all a disgusting effort to ruin a good man, who works himself to the bone for the people of Brooklyn and has demonstrated unprecedented success, year after year. You should be ashamed of yourselves for cherry picking negative isolated incidents, making conclusions on innuendo, and ignoring the other side of the stories.

Bklynsfinest
Bklynsfinest

@jake68jake1 So even if they were isolated incidents, what! We must turn a blind eye because he did well in the past. Someone must be held accountable for the crimes against these innocent people. These cases had obvious evidence showing their innocence and it was covered up, these are crimes. How do these people sleep at night knowing they placed innocent people in jail for 20 years and sometimes life?

BrooklynKnows
BrooklynKnows like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Thank you Graham for a well written summary of the heinous acts committed by Brooklyn DA Hynes and his henchman Michael Veccione.  Sadly this article merely touches on the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more and worse stories to tell.

One hopes that the reporting will continue and force this man to retire. Or force the federal government to step in and hold him and Veccione accountable for their actions.

The sad part of this story is that while Veccione has always been a thug, Hynes was once a good prosecutor who had respect for the law.  Look at him now.

jake68jake1
jake68jake1

John Doe - you've just described every DA's Office in the City, from the perspective of a career and bitter defense attorney (although you have more of a point when it comes to the Manhattan Office, much more so than Brooklyn). The objective fact is that no DA has instituted the kinds of programs and reforms that Hynes has and continues to do (see the Drew House program and Project Redirect, for example). Offices all over the country didn't emulate his programs because they play politics or trample due process. You have ample right to be pissed over ADA's mishandling cases or failing to "do the right thing" when you think it's "obvious", but you're dead wrong to think that Hynes' office or approach cultivates such behavior to any unique degree. And, by the way, I am not an ADA. Just an informed and involved Brooklynite. It's amazing what happens when you're objective and know the facts.

JohnDoe
JohnDoe like.author.displayName 1 Like

@jake68jake Your punctuation and grammar lead me to believe you are one of his little green robot prosecutors.  That office has been a joke for years and everyone who practices in
Brooklyn, including the judges, knows it.  Untrained and incompetent ADAs with no understanding of due process or that the job of a prosecutor is to seek justice.  They simply lie, hide and climb that pathetic little ladder over there.

jake68jake
jake68jake

This article is an entirely one-sided attack ad, making noi effort to explore the other side of the stores and citing a few "allegations" and innuendo as evidence of widespread "corruption" or "misconduct." There is no effort to seek the actual truth, or review the literally thousands of achievements by DA Hynes or the dozens of nationally recognized programs that he conceived and successfully implemented. Comically, the article, in an ultra liberal newspaper, starts off criticizing Hynes for his extensive social service work - all of which has resulted in historic reductions of crime and, more importantly, recidivism - and then turns to attacking how aggressive Hynes' office has been in prosecuting felons. The author is obviously in bed with Abe George, a rookie with barely any experience as a prosecutor who thinks he can run one of the largest DA's Offices in the nation. And quoting Gershman, a wholesale lawbreaker and ethics violator infamous for his time under Maurice Nadjari, is another big laugh. All of this is a joke. The people of Brooklyn are very fortunate to have, and to have had, DA Hynes implementing the kind of groundbreaking programs that turn crime around, and exhibit the fearlessness it takes to challenge and prosecute establishment corruption such as the party bosses, Hasidic community enforcers, etc. With only a bit of even handedness, the truth would be obvious. No one ever accused the Voice of caring about such things, though. Talk about an agenda...

1sensei
1sensei

Why don't you investigate Cy Vance. He seems to run a very political organization

 
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