March 11, 2016

Wrongfully Convicted Man Released From Prison After 25 Years

Andrew Keshner and Andrew Denney, New York Law Journal

March 11, 2016 New York Law Journal - A man who spent almost 25 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit walked out of a courtroom a free man Thursday after Brooklyn prosecutors told a judge they could no longer stand by a conviction made from a "systemic failure."

Members of the Conviction Review Unit in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office moved to vacate Andre Hatchett's 1992 second-degree murder verdict, pointing to an unreliable eyewitness and Brady violations.

"Mr. Hatchett was failed by almost every institution that he came in contact with during the course of this prosecution," Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale said in court. He said the case was marred by Brady violations, as well as a substandard trial defense and an "incredibly sloppy investigation" by police.

Hale, the review unit's chief, said the office would not seek to retry Hatchett, who "should not spend another minute in jail."

Hatchett was represented pro bono by Seema Saifee, a staff attorney at the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck, co-director of the organization, and James Brochin, a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Read more in the New York Law Journal.