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CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 12:40 AM
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Attorney Barry Scheck, center surrounded by family members and other attorneys speaks to the media following District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's report which vacated all guilty verdicts of the five young men convicted in the Central Park Jogger case in New York, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002.


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Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau exits his office in New York, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002. Morgenthau asked a judge today to throw out the convictions of five young men in one of the city's most racially explosive cases: the 1989 attack on a Central Park jogger who was raped, beaten and left for dead.


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Yusef Salaam's sister Aisha, left, and mother Sharonne exit state supreme court in New York, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002. New York County district attorney Robert Morgenthau asked a judge today to throw out the convictions of Salaam and four other young men in one of the city's most racially explosive cases: the 1989 attack on a Central Park jogger who was raped, beaten and left for dead.

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Yusef Salaam, one of the five teenagers accused of rape and attempted murder in the Central Park jogger rape case, arrives at State Supreme Court in New York, in this Aug. 1990 file photo. Prosecutors appeared ready Thursday, Dec. 5, 2002 to ask State Supreme Court Justice Charles Tejada to throw out convictions stemming from New York's Central Park jogger rape case.



Prosecutors Seek Reversal in Jogger Case

Dec 5, 6:41 PM (ET)

By SAMUEL MAULL

NEW YORK (AP) - Citing DNA on a sock, prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to throw out the convictions of five young men found guilty of beating and gang-raping a jogger during a 1989 "wilding" spree in Central Park that exposed the city's deep racial divide to the rest of the nation.

District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's recommendation came 11 months after a convicted rapist who had never before come under suspicion in the case confessed. Also, DNA tests confirmed that his semen was on one of the socks the victim was wearing 13 years ago.

Morgenthau stopped short of declaring the five innocent, but said the confession and the tests create "a probability that the verdicts would have been more favorable to the defendants." And he said no purpose would be served by retrying them.

The decision of whether to throw out the convictions rests with state Justice Charles Tejada, who is expected to rule by Feb. 6.


The attack on a white 28-year-old investment banker, allegedly by a gang of black and Hispanic boys from Harlem, became emblematic of New York City's struggles with crime and race relations in the late 1980s.

The five defendants, who were 14 to 16 at the time of the attack, are now mostly in their late 20s and have already completed prison terms ranging from six years to 11 1/2 years for the crime.

But throwing out of their convictions could clear the way for them to sue the city and would free them from having to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Their families and lawyers called for an immediate ruling from the judge.

"We are truly moved by this decision," said Sharonne Salaam, mother of one of the youths. "But we also feel like we've been victimized, like the Central Park jogger. We all feel we were denied justice."


Through a spokeswoman, the victim declined comment. Despite remarkable recovery from severe brain injuries, she has said she remembers nothing of the attack and was unable to help police identify suspects.

The victim was left for dead in a pool of mud and blood on April 19, 1989, after dozens of teenagers descended on the park to mug runners and bicyclists in a crime spree dubbed "wilding." She was in a coma for 12 days.

The randomness of the spree terrified many New Yorkers. It was also another blow to a city struggling with a soaring crime rate and a string of racial incidents, including Bernhard Goetz's shooting of black youths on the subway and attacks in the Howard Beach and Bensonhurst neighborhoods.

Some questioned whether the Central Park youths were rounded up because of their skin color and suggested police would not have pursued the case so aggressively had the victim been black or Hispanic.

Police said all five confessed - four of them on video - and that evidence proved devastating at trial.

"We all took turns getting on top of her," Antron McCray, then 15, told police in one tape.

Defense attorneys said the youths were coerced into bogus confessions by police who kept questioning them for hours. But until January's confession, there seemed to be little chance of overturning the convictions against McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam.

The confession came from Matias Reyes, 31, who is serving a life sentence for raping three women near Central Park and raping and killing a pregnant woman. He said he broke his long silence after finding religion.

Reyes told investigators he raped the jogger, crushed her skull with a rock and left her for dead. He also said he followed his usual pattern of acting alone.

"I was a monster," Reyes said in a recent TV interview. "I did some real bad things to so many people and harmed them in so many ways."

DNA test results returned in May corroborated his story. The same tests failed to link the five youths to the crime scene.

The former prosecutor in the case, Linda Fairstein, recently said she has no doubts the five are guilty and that Reyes merely finished the assault.

At trial, the only physical evidence connecting the boys to the attack was blond hair found on one of the youths that prosecutors said matched that of the victim. But Morgenthau said new tests showed the hair was not hers after all.

Moreover, the district attorney said the boys' alleged confessions had "serious weaknesses." Their accounts "differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime - who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who held her, who raped her, what weapons were used."

Defense attorneys said there was clear wrongdoing by police in the case, but nothing in the 58-page recommendation from prosecutors questioned the methods used by detectives in securing the confessions.


"This new evidence - all it does is implicate an additional perpetrator," said Michael Palladino of the Detectives' Endowment Association. "None of the evidence exonerates or eliminates the additional five."

The youths were also convicted of attacking several other people in the park that night, but Morgenthau said those should also be dropped.

The jogger, a former employee of Salomon Bros., is now 41. She lives in a Connecticut suburb and works for a nonprofit organization. She has been married for five years and is said to have a book due out in April.

Deloris Wise, the mother of Kharey Wise, said her son entered prison as a bewildered youth and left a bitter and broken man.

"He doesn't even realize what's going on today," a tearful Wise said. "He doesn't care. Why should he?"

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:03 AM
This prosecutor Robert Morgenthau is considered by many legal pundits as the best in the country. For him to ask that all charges be dropped against the defendants is really saying something about the US judicial system. Matter of fact, it an indictment against it.

I wonder if these guys will be financially compensated for spending ten years in prision for a horrible crime they apparently didn't commit.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 02:51 PM
This is only the right thing to do.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 03:46 PM
Excerpts From District Attorney's Report on Re-examination of Jogger Case
By THE NEW YORK TIMES


Following are excerpts from papers filed yesterday by the Manhattan district attorney's office in the Central Park jogger case, noting the admission by Matias Reyes that he was the sole rapist. The full text is at http://www.manhattanda.org:

The investigation has included interviews with police officers, corrections personnel, inmates and civilians, as well as a review of all relevant records pertaining to Reyes's personal, criminal and psychological history and the original investigation and prosecution of the attack on the Central Park jogger. . . .

That investigation has led to the conclusion that Reyes's account of the attack and rape is corroborated by . . . independent evidence in a number of important respects . . . Further, investigators have been unable to find any evidence that, as of 1989, Reyes knew . . . the defendants or any of the individuals known to have been in the park with them on the night of April 19. In any event . . . several of the defendants themselves named or otherwise identified the individuals they claimed raped the Central Park jogger; the evidence indicates that none of those individuals is Matias Reyes. In addition, Reyes has proven to be candid and accurate about other aspects of his life, associations and history, both personal and criminal. A full review and investigation of that criminal history has revealed significant parallels with the jogger attack, and also resulted in the discovery of important additional evidence. . . .

Reyes has also been candid, even with respect to aspects of his history that might cast doubt on his credibility. . . .

Perhaps the most persuasive fact about the defendants' confessions is that they exist at all. While all of the defendants began by denying knowledge of the attack, each ultimately made himself an accomplice in a terrible crime.

In that regard, it is important to note that, with the exception of the unrecorded statement made by Yusef Salaam, each of the statements cast the speaker in a relatively minor role, and none of the defendants admitted that he personally raped her. Kevin Richardson stated that he grabbed at the jogger, but equivocated about it and, at least on video, stopped short of saying that he did so to assist in an assault or rape. Antron McCray said that he kicked the jogger and lay on top of her, but did not penetrate her. Raymond Santana finally stated that he [groped her]. And Kharey Wise eventually said that he held and fondled her leg. Yusef Salaam, in his unrecorded statement, went furthest in ascribing culpability to himself, by saying that he struck the jogger with a pipe at the inception of the incident.

In and of itself, the fact that each defendant minimized his own involvement would not be startling or necessarily significant; defendants certainly lie, even when confessing. On the other hand, it arguably makes the claim that the defendants made false admissions more plausible, by adding weight to their contention that, for whatever reason, each spoke about the crime with a view toward becoming a witness rather than a defendant. In that sense, it is an aspect of the confessions to be considered here.

The significant weaknesses in the defendants' statements lie in the details they provide in describing the attack on the jogger. Taking the statements individually, those details appear to give them power. But a comparison of the statements reveals troubling discrepancies. Using their videotaped statements as the point of comparison, analysis shows that the accounts given by the five defendants differed from one another on the specific details of virtually every major aspect of the crime who initiated the attack, who knocked the victim down, who undressed her, who struck her, who held her, who raped her, what weapons were used in the course of the assault, and when in the sequence of events the attack took place. . . .

An additional issue is raised by the other incidents which took place in the park. For while the nature and locations of those incidents made it seem logical to believe that the defendants had attacked the jogger, the timing of events made it hard to understand when they could have. . . .

Nonetheless, the fact that these weaknesses in the confessions exist gives added weight to the newly discovered evidence . . . and increases the probability that that evidence would result in a different verdict. . . .

A self-confessed and convicted serial rapist who habitually stalked white women in their 20's; who attacked them, beat them and raped them; who always robbed his victims, and frequently stole Walkmans; who tied one of his victims in a fashion much like the Central Park jogger; who lived on 102nd Street; who beat and raped a woman in Central Park two days before the attack on the transverse; whose DNA was the only DNA recovered inside and alongside the victim; whose narrative of events is corroborated in a number of significant ways; who had no connection to the defendants or their cohorts; and who committed all his sex crimes alone has come forward to say that he alone stalked, attacked, beat, raped and robbed a white woman in her 20's, who was set upon on the 102nd Street transverse, was missing her Walkman and was left tied in a way that has never before been explained.

Had this evidence been available, the defendants' attorneys would have had an arguably compelling alternative to the People's theory of the case.

CHOCO
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:18 PM
5 off hook in '89 attack on N.Y. jogger

December 6, 2002

BY SAMUEL MAULL


NEW YORK--Citing DNA on a sock, prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to throw out the convictions of five young men found guilty of beating and gang-raping a jogger during a 1989 ''wilding'' spree in Central Park that exposed the city's deep racial divide.

District Attorney Robert Morgenthau's recommendation came 11 months after a convicted rapist who had never come under suspicion in the case confessed. DNA tests confirmed that his semen was on one of the socks the victim was wearing 13 years ago.

Morgenthau stopped short of declaring the five innocent but said the confession and tests create ''a probability that the verdicts would have been more favorable to the defendants.'' He said no purpose would be served by retrying them.

The decision of whether to throw out the convictions rests with state Justice Charles Tejada, who is expected to rule by Feb. 6.

The attack on a white 28-year-old banker, allegedly by a gang of black and Hispanic boys from Harlem, became emblematic of New York City's struggles with crime and race relations in the late 1980s.

The five defendants, who were 14 to 16 at the time of the attack, have completed prison terms ranging from six years to 11-1/2 years for the crime.

But throwing out their convictions could clear the way for them to sue the city and would free them from having to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives.

Their families and lawyers called for an immediate ruling from the judge.

Through a spokeswoman, the victim declined comment. Despite remarkable recovery from severe brain injuries, she has said she remembers nothing of the attack and was unable to identify suspects.

The victim was left for dead in a pool of mud and blood April 19, 1989, after dozens of teenagers mugged runners and bicyclists in a crime spree dubbed ''wilding.'' She was in a coma for 12 days.

Defense attorneys said the youths were coerced into bogus confessions by police. But until January's confession, there seemed to be little chance of overturning the convictions against Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam.

The confession came from Matias Reyes, 31, who is serving a life sentence for raping three women near Central Park and raping and killing a pregnant woman. He said he broke his silence after finding religion.

AP

lizchris
Dec 6th, 2002, 06:38 PM
Though I thought they were guilty of assaulting other people in the park, I never thought they were guilty of raping the jogger and really didn't think they would get convicted when the DNA tests came back before the trial negative for all five teenagers. They were convicted because of the overwhelming negative press, and a prosecuter and public who wanted a conviction regardless of the evidence.

Though I think they deserve some compensation, they probably won't get it because in NY State, to sur for wrongful conviction, you cannot confess to the crime and they did.