Judge Tosses 'Bewildering' Murder Conviction
Frees defendant after 23 years in prison
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 17, 2013 10:00 AM CST
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes appears at a press conference in New York, in this Dec. 9, 2008 file photo. Hynes' office has been repeatedly criticized for its methods.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

(Newser) – A federal judge yesterday overturned the decades-old murder conviction of a Brooklyn man, lambasting the trial judge's decisions as "incomprehensible," the jury's conclusion as "bewildering," the man's lawyers as "indolent and ill prepared," and the prosecutors as "overzealous and deceitful." William Lopez has spent 23 years in prison on the charge, but now must be freed within 60 days, the New York Times reports. "The prosecution's evidence was flimsy to begin with," the judge said, "and has since been reduced to rubble."

Lopez was convicted of killing a drug dealer in a Brooklyn crack house on the strength of two witnesses' testimony. One of those witnesses described a man a half foot taller than Lopez, and was unable to identify him when he was sitting in the courtroom. The other later admitted prosecutors had cut a secret deal with her in exchange for a reduced sentence on a drug charge. The case is notable as yet another strike against longtime Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, the Times points out. Hynes' office has seen several convictions vacated in recent years.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
fractal
Jan 18, 2013 2:13 PM CST
Everyone keeps saying the U.S. system of justice is the "best in the world." I have to disagree. Many countries have a system that is far less "adversarial" in nature, where professionals actually sit down together and try and figure out the truth. We COULD have a system more like that, if we didn't have so many people who are American Government fetishists.
HANKHILL
Jan 18, 2013 9:25 AM CST
was not chars nick name "race horse"?
Chatsworth
Jan 17, 2013 5:14 PM CST
What a miscarriage of justice! Not only was it a wrongful conviction, but the person who was killed was a drug dealer in a crack house, good riddance for that scum!