Sundhe Moses (r.) and Derrick Hamilton outside Supreme Court in Brooklyn, where Moses is fighting to clear his name in a 1995 murder.
Former detective Louis Scarcella’s memory may be selective when it comes to the dozens of cases he’s worked on in his lengthy career — but he definitely recalls convictions that were later overturned.
“The DA’s office decided to use her (Teresa Gomez) as a witness,” said Scarcella as he was probed by defense attorney Ron Kuby on Friday.
Scarcella testified in an ongoing evidentiary hearing in front of Justice Dineen Riviezzo for Sundhe Moses, who says he was forced to confess to the 1995 murder of 4-year-old Shamone Johnson.
Disgraced former detective Louis Scarcella
(Jesse Ward/for New York Daily News)
Gomez was a drug-addicted prostitute Scarcella utilized to land five murder convictions.
Prosecutors with the Conviction Review Unit denounced Gomez’s testimony, characterized it as problematic, and later exonerated Robert Hill, Darryl Austin and Alvenia Jeanette in May 2014.
Scarcella believed Gomez was a credible witness when she gave “good information” on two homicides — after she was busted with a john in a house on Park Pl. and Bedford Ave. in the early 1980s.
“There was an ADA (prosecutor) named Jon Besunder. I brought many cases to him and he’d determine if a witness should be polygraphed and she (Gomez) was polygraphed," said Scarcella regarding Hill’s 1987 shooting.
“The judge used her in five cases and had no problem using her,” said Scarcella, who remembered now Justice Neil Ross was the prosecutor in the Hill case.
Kuby continued to question Scarcella about witnesses and defendants who recanted their testimony.
“Give me a lie detector test, sir. Give me a lie detector test Mr. Kuby. I’ll pay for it,” said Scarcella referring to Jewel Smith, a witness in the Derrick Hamilton case, who recanted seeing the murder of her boyfriend Nathaniel Cash in 1991.
Scarcella testified that the late Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson and Acting DA Eric Gonzalez has not found any misconduct regarding seven cases overturned by the CRU.
“Is it your testimony that you never did anything wrong in any of your cases?” asked Kuby.
“Exactly,” Scarcella replied from the witness stand.
Yet, four Brooklyn supreme court judges discredited his misconduct going back to 1987 when Justice Francis Egitto didn’t allow the identification of James Jenkins at trial because of how Scarcella presented the photo array to a witness.
The three other judges — Shawn’Dya Simpson, Desmond Greene and Raymond Guzman — variously said Scarcella was instrumental in the exonerations of John Bunn, Rosean Hargrave, Shabaka Shakur and Derrick Hamilton.
Scarcella did, however, admit that he misused take-out orders for inmates involved in the David Ranta case and the prosecutor, now Justice Suzanne Mondo, was aware.
Ranta was wrongfully convicted for the 1991 murder of a rabbi during a botched robbery in Williamsburg.
“You knew you weren’t supposed to take a witness out to see friends with a take-out order?” asked Kuby.
“Yes, but I wanted to keep my witness happy. I made that decision at that time, that’s the statement I made and I stand by it,” Scarcella replied.
Scarcella said he’ll continue to stand by all the convictions.
“I think he does a disservice to the face of the NYPD based on the fact that he continues to lie and fabricate the facts in the this case,” Moses said outside of court.