2/15/13

Judge Greenlights Jabbar Collins Lawsuit

Frederic Block, a federal judge in the Eastern District of New York, declined today, in Collins v. The City of New York, 11-CV-766. to dismiss civil rights claims by Jabbar Collins, who served 16 years for murder in a now-vacated Brooklyn Criminal Court conviction.

Finding Collins' claims adequately pleaded, the judge allowed him to proceed against the city on the theory that the NYPD didn't care if Collins was convicted through prosecutorial misconduct.

But Block dismissed $150 million in claims against the prosecutor who convicted Collins, then-Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Michael Vecchione, now chief of the Brooklyn DA's rackets bureau, finding that Vecchione was shielded by prosecutorial immunity.

Block didn't rule out Collins' amending his pleadings to add Brooklyn District Attorney Charlie Hynes as a defendant, based on the theory that Hynes, by condoning his subordinate's "by any means necessary" tactics, enabled the lawless behavior that resulted in Collins' conviction.

Hynes, not initially a target of the lawsuit, has praised Vecchione's handling of the Collins case.

The article from the New York Law Journal.

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