A Brooklyn, N.Y., judge has ordered the release of Rosean Hargrave, a man convicted in 1991 of murdering an off-duty corrections officer, the New York Daily News reported. Hargrave’s case is the latest overturned conviction involving former New York City Detective Louis Scarcella, who has been accused many times of framing suspects.
“The finding of this court is that retired Detective Louis Scarcella was, at the time of the investigation, engaged in false and misleading practices,” said New York Supreme Court Justice ShawnDya Simpson.
After condemning Scarcella’s detective work, Simpson ordered a new trial.
In 2013 the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office began reviewing murder convictions involving the once legendary detective, who led homicide investigations at the peak of the crack epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s. This review came after serious questions emerged surrounding his tactics. The close scrutiny has so far resulted in six overturned convictions.
Hargrave’s lawyers underscored what they claim was flawed detective work by Scarcella and his partner. They point, for example, to blood evidence from the crime scene that somehow went missing so that DNA testing was impossible. The New York Times investigated Hargrave’s case in a series on Scarcella that raised concerns that Scarcella sent innocent suspects to prison.
Hargrave, now 40, was just 17 years old when he was convicted. His family members broke down in tears when the judge ordered his release.
“I have never been so happy in 23 years,” Hargrave’s mother said outside the courthouse, according to the Times. “I’m just so glad it’s over, and I hope it never happens to anyone else.”