Brooklyn DA Appoints Panel to Review Unlawful Convictions

BROOKLYN -

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced the appointment of three attorneys to assist in evaluating recent cases involving allegations of unlawful convictions.

Bernard Nussbaum, Jennifer Rodgers and Gary Villanueva will consult with the Conviction Review Unit that was established by Charles Hynes, former DA. “My ultimate goal,” Thomson said in a statement announcing the appointments, “is to insure that the people of Brooklyn have faith in the fairness of our criminal justice system.”

The panel will meet on an as needed basis with the district attorney’s office and review findings of individual cases that have already been investigated by the CRU. They will advise whether a conviction should stand, needs additional review or should possibly be overturned.

Thompson has made wrongful convictions a central plank in his campaign last year.

The first case that was investigated by the CRU involved David Ranta, the only person jailed in the 1990 murder of Rabbi Chatzkel Werzberger, Hy”d, of Williamsburg. His conviction, secured by Louis Scarcella, was withdrawn by Hynes, prompting a review of all the more than 50 cases overseen by Scarcella.