After a New York Times report shed light on the questionable, if not blatantly unethical, conduct of a retired NYPD detective, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office announced Sunday that about 50 homicide cases handled by Louis Scarcella will be reopened for review.
News of the massive review, which will be conducted by the office of DA Charles Hynes, comes after the release of 58-year-old David Ranta, who spent over two decades in prison for a murder he did not commit.
Scarcella was the cop responsible for putting Ranta behind bars.
Detective Louis Scarcella leads murder suspect David Ranta to Central Booking in the 1990 case. (Photo: Frank Leonardo/NY Post)
During the 1980s and 90s, Scarcella earned a reputation for coaxing suspects into confessing.
After Ranta's release, however, Scarcella's stellar record has come under intense scrutiny.
The Times discovered some alarming trends in Scarcella's career including, "his reliance on the same eyewitness, a crack-addicted prostitute, for multiple murder prosecutions and his delivery of confessions from suspects who later said they had told him nothing."
Derrick Hamilton, who was freed in 2001 after doubts arose surrounding his case, was excited to hear that Scarcella's cases were under review.
"It’s despicable, in this time and age, for people who are innocent to still be sitting in jail," he said. "Now that it’s revealed that Scarcella is who he is and his real character is coming out, I'm hopeful. He told me, ‘I know you didn’t commit this murder, but I don’t care.'"
As for Ranta, he is reportedly planning to sue the city for $150 million. He recently opened up about the tremendous difficulties he has faced attempting to adjust to his new life.
“The first time I ate at a restaurant and used their restroom, I couldn’t figure out how to use the sink; it was one of those automatic motion-sensor faucets," he told The New York Post. "I had to get someone to show me what to do, and I felt embarrassed.”
“To tell you the truth, mentally I still feel like I’m in prison,’’ he said. “You can’t just flip a switch and say, ‘Hey, you’re free; go enjoy the time you have left.’”
Since Ranta's release, Scarcella has remained staunchly defensive of his record.
"I stand by everything I did," he said. "I did my job and I would do it the same way. ... I sleep well at night."