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“If they couldn’t take me out then,” said Hynes, “boy, you’ll never take me out now.”
Like other jurisdictions across the country, Brooklyn created its Conviction Integrity Unit in the face of increasing innocence claims that have been supported by advances in DNA evidence and forensic technology.
Hynes said the unit has cleared three people, including Ranta, and 14 more cases were under review.
But Hynes has pushed back in other high-profile wrongful convictions, including those of William Lopez and Jabbar Collins - each convicted of murder by Hynes’s office in the early 1990s. Both spent years in prison for convictions that were recently overturned by federal judges.
One judge called Lopez’s case “rotten from Day 1.” Another said prosecutors’ behavior in the Collins case was “shameful,” “sad” and “beyond disappointing.” A third said he was “puzzled” and “disturbed” by Hynes’s defense of a top deputy who prosecuted the Collins case.
Hynes’s opponents are using the cases against him.
“The people of Brooklyn deserve a DA who will insist from Day 1 that every case is investigated and prosecuted fairly and with integrity - and not just in an election year,” said Kenneth Thompson, 47, a former federal prosecutor best known for representing in private practice the woman who accused the former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, of sexual assault in 2011.
Abe George, 34, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney who is also challenging Hynes, said the cases showed it was “time to reform” the district attorney’s office.
Hynes, an Irish-American Catholic, has been accused of giving preferential treatment to political supporters, particularly the leaders of Brooklyn’s insular, deeply religious Orthodox Jews.