Prosecutors are asking a New York City court to throw out 90 drug convictions following a review of arrests involving a former narcotics detective charged with corruption.
The mostly low-level cases investigated by Joseph Franco while a NYPD officer in Brooklyn from 2004 to 2011 should be vacated because of his ongoing criminal case in Manhattan, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday. A 2019 indictment accuses Franco of perjury and other charges alleging he framed innocent people.
The review of the mostly low-level Brooklyn cases dating back a decade or more found no similar misconduct on Franco’s part or that the defendants were innocent, prosecutors said Wednesday. But because of the Manhattan case, “I have lost confidence in his work,” Gonzalez said in a statement.
“I cannot in good faith stand by convictions that principally relied on his testimony,” he added.
Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society’s criminal defense practice, lauded Gonzalez’s decision to vacate the convictions. She urged other district attorneys in the city to perform similar reviews.
Franco “touched thousands of cases throughout New York City, and we may never know the full extent of the damage he caused and lives he upended,” Luongo said in a statement.
During a virtual hearing on Wednesday morning, a judge began the process of vacating the cases at the request of defense attorneys. At issue were 27 felony and 63 misdemeanor convictions, most resulting from guilty pleas.
The Supreme Court sided Monday with Google in an $8 billion copyright dispute with Oracle over the internet company’s creation of the Android operating system used on most smartphones worldwide.
To create Android, which was released in 2007, Google wrote millions of lines of new computer code. But it also used 11,330 lines of code and an organization that’s part of Oracle’s Java platform.
Google had argued that what it did is long-settled, common practice in the industry, a practice that has been good for technical progress. And it said there is no copyright protection for the purely functional, noncreative computer code it used, something that couldn’t be written another way. But Austin, Texas-based Oracle said Google “committed an egregious act of plagiarism,” and it sued.
The justices ruled 6-2 for Google Inc., based in Mountain View, California. Two conservative justices dissented.
Justice Stephen Breyer wrote that in reviewing a lower court’s decision, the justices assumed “for argument’s sake, that the material was copyrightable.”
“But we hold that the copying here at issue nonetheless constituted a fair use. Hence, Google’s copying did not violate the copyright law,” he wrote.
Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in a dissent joined by Justice Samuel Alito that he believed “Oracle’s code at issue here is copyrightable, and Google’s use of that copyrighted code was anything but fair.”
Only eight justices heard the case because it was argued in October, after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg but before Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined the court.
In a statement, Google’s chief legal officer, Kent Walker, called the ruling a “victory for consumers, interoperability, and computer science.” “The decision gives legal certainty to the next generation of developers whose new products and services will benefit consumers,” Walker wrote.
Oracle’s chief legal officer, Dorian Daley, condemned the outcome. “The Google platform just got bigger and market power greater. The barriers to entry higher and the ability to compete lower. They stole Java and spent a decade litigating as only a monopolist can,” she wrote in a statement.
Microsoft, IBM and major internet and tech industry lobbying groups had weighed in on the case in favor of Google. The Motion Picture Association and the Recording Industry Association of America were among those supporting Oracle.
The case is Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc., 18-956.
A judge in Rapid City, South Dakota Tuesday granted a 90-day extension to the defense attorney of a man accused of murdering three people last year to be notified whether prosecutors will seek the death penalty.
The defense attorney for 36-year-old Arnson Absolu, a New York City man charged with three counts of premeditated first-degree murder for a series of alleged murders in August, asked the judge for the extension so he could investigate circumstances that may mitigate a death penalty sentence and meet with prosecutors, the Rapid City Journal reported. Absolu has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole.
The Pennington County State’s Attorney Office will make a decision on whether to pursue the death penalty after it meets with Absolu’s defense attorney, Timothy Rensch.
If Absolu is convicted, the judge or jury could consider the death penalty if there are aggravating circumstances, such as a murder-for-hire, murder that involved “torture, depravity of the mind or an aggravated battery,” and if the defendant was distributing hard drugs.
The judge or jury would also consider mitigating circumstances, such as the defendant’s childhood experience, mental health or developmental disorders.
The newest judge to the Rhode Island Superior Court was sworn in Saturday.
Democratic Gov. Dan McKee presided over the swearing in of R. David Cruise, a longtime political operative and state senator, at the Boys & Girls Club location in Cumberland.
McKee, a former Cumberland mayor who has known Cruise for years, said in a statement that he’s an “honest, fair and thoughtful leader who brings decades of legal and government experience to the bench.”
Cruise is a former state senator and Cumberland town councilor. In recent years, he’s served as former Gov. Gina Raimondo’s director of legislative affairs, former administrative magistrate with the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal and chief of staff to the Rhode Island Senate, among other posts, according to McKee’s office.
In the 1990s, Cruise worked in the commerce department under President Bill Clinton and chief of staff to former Governor Bruce Sundlun. In the 1980s, he was a state senator and before that served on the Cumberland Town Council.
Cruise, who graduated from Providence College and the Suffolk University School of Law, replaces former Superior Court Judge Bennett Gallo, who retired in February.
The Rhode Island Superior Court has 22 judges and five magistrates. It handles both civil and criminal matters.