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Criminal Justice

Five confessions taken by NY cop have similarities; suspects say ‘You got it right; I was there’

Posted Jun 13, 2013 11:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Five confessions elicited by Brooklyn detective Louis Scarcella all began with similar language: “You got it right” and/or “I was there.”

One of the defendants who used that language is David Ranta, who was released after serving 23 years in prison when the Brooklyn District Attorney's office concluded there were flaws in the case, the New York Times reports. The DA's office conceded that Scarcella coached a witness viewing a lineup, ignored another suspect, and let witnesses leave jail to smoke crack and visit prostitutes, the New York Times reported in a story last month.

Another defendant confessed with that wording was Jabbar Washington, who remains in prison for a 1995 slaying. Washington testified at his trial that Scarcella grabbed his neck and testicles and forced him to sign the confession. Witnesses couldn’t identify Washington and he had an alibi; he was convicted largely on the strength of the confession, the Times says.

The Brooklyn District Attorney is now reviewing Scarcella’s trial convictions. Scarcella, now retired, says that inmates want to use him as a “get-of-of-jail-free key” since Ranta’s exoneration. “I will say this again,” he told the Times. “I have never fabricated a confession in my life.”

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