Man in Prison for a Murder He Had No Connection to Will Go Free After 23 Years | Alternet
A detective named Louis Scarcella was on the hunt to convict someone for Werzberger’s murder, and broke several rules in order to convict Ranta, including keeping few written records and reducing the sentences of two prisoners in exchange for their information.
A detective reduced sentences?? Either the author misunderstood the circumstances, or New York has a justice system like no other.
The growing trend in upset convictions is to throw cops under the bus to take the heat off the big fish … police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, D.A.’s, judges, justices, attorney generals and governors.
To understand the who, what, where and why of how it came to be that non-supervisory cops are taking most of the heat for wrongful convictions, all you have to do is compare the rote recitations of Innocence Project exonerees to Ranta’s unscripted quotes.
IP exonerees say, “I’m not bitter. I’m only looking forward. I’m glad that justice was finally served.”
Ranta said, “This case killed my whole life.”
Scarcella screwed up, and deliberately so – big time – but he didn’t kill Ranta’s life. The widow of the actual killer in Ranta’s case came forward in 1996 – 17 years ago. A judge blew her off, not Scarcella; the judge killed Ranta’s life.
Big fish get away with such murders all the time, and they’re got an ongoing warm fuzzy feeling for the Innocence Project’s backwards agenda of “preventing future wrongful convictions” via dissecting police procedures (reinventing the same wheel in as many states as possible) over and over while tens of thousands of knowingly clouded convictions lead to the death of innocents behind bars. And Ranta was nearly one of them.
If my warm fuzzy statement were untrue, the Bar Association and Justice Department wouldn’t be the IP’s biggest contributors.
The IP exoneree script – not bitter, only looking forward, justice was served – is a second undeserved sentence for the freed, and a life sentence, at that … choking on the bitterness, blinded by the flashbacks, knowing justice will never be served, and worse … that the big fish who bent and broke the law to achieve their false convictions (and keep them intact for as long as possible) will continue to harm others.
And some IP exonerees can’t handle living the lie. They turn to drugs. They commit crimes. And sometimes the stress can kills them before their time, like it did James Woodard.
Ranta was freed through the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit, but integrity isn’t the first word that comes to mind in prosecutorial blame-the-cop scenarios.
Two days after being freed, Ranta had a heart attack. It wasn’t from the overwhelming emotions of being freed; it was from untreated heart disease. If he’d still been “inside” when it happened, he’d be dead … and it wouldn’t have been Scarcella’s fault.
We’ll get absolutely nowhere in undoing wrongful convictions rapidly until we demand the frying of lots of big fish.