December 03, 2002

Closer & Closer to Justice?

Two quickies leading up to Thurday's ruling in the Central Park 5 Case:

Prosecutors reviewing the convictions of five teenagers in the 1989 rape and beating of a Central Park jogger are also considerating tossing out their convictions for other crimes that night, according to reports published Monday.

The other convictions may not legally stand if investigators determine the teens did not rape and beat the jogger, unnamed law enforcement officials told The New York Times and the Daily News.

The teenagers were prosecuted in the rape of the jogger and assaults on eight other people on the night of April 19, 1989. Prosecutors have said the teenagers were among several dozen youths who attacked people in the park that night.

Four of the teenagers, in videotaped statements after their arrests, said they witnessed at least one assault. But those confessions may no longer be valid if prosecutors decide the teenagers gave inaccurate statements about the rape, the Times said.

Which is scaing the mess out of law enforcement:

[ .. P]olice officials are opposed to total exoneration for the five youths. In addition to the April 19, 1989, rape of the jogger, the defendants were convicted of crimes against eight other people who were accosted in Central Park.

That night, dozens of teenagers descended on the park to mug runners and bicyclists. The jogger, a 28-year-old investment banker, was found comatose in a pool of blood.

[ ... ]

Attorneys for the five defendants say detectives coerced the confessions.

"We know the verdicts must be set aside by virtue of the law," one of the attorneys, Michael Warren, said Monday.

Call Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau and tell him the convictions must be set aside and justice must prevail: 212-335-8500 (tel) & 212-335-8999 (fax)

Posted by ronn at December 3, 2002 06:03 PM