Carlos Davis (c.) and his lawyer Francis Murray in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
An exonerated man can press on with his civil rights case against the city, a Brooklyn federal judge ruled.
Carlos Davis sued the city, NYPD and prosecutors, saying he was railroaded on bogus evidence in a Brooklyn homicide case.
Davis, 47, said his 1991 conviction was product of an office — led by then-Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes — that was deliberately indifferent to unfair play by prosecutors. Prosecutors under Hynes’ successor, the late Ken Thompson, had the case vacated in 2015.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Ann Donnelly ruled Thursday that for now, Davis could keep pushing his claims he was wrongly prosecuted.
Donnelly said Davis also could keep arguing the city should be on the hook because of deliberate indifference to cooking up evidence, witness coercion and the withholding of evidence favorable to defendants.
At the same time, the judge tossed Davis’ arguments that the actions of an assistant district attorney and a police sergeant, the victim’s stepdad, deprived him a fair trial.
In 1988, Davis was charged for a deadly East New York shooting. Davis said he saw the crime, but played no part. Jurors acquitted Davis on the murder rap, but convicted him of gun possession. He was behind bars for nine years before his 1997 release.
Carlos Davis said his 1991 conviction was product of an office — led by then-Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes (pictured).
(Theodore Parisienne/Theodore Parisienne)
Disgraced ex-detective Louis Scarcella was the arresting officer, but he’s not being sued in the case and doesn’t play a large role in the lawsuit’s allegations.
Davis said the prosecution case was falling apart mid-trial — which sent law enforcement and the victim’s brother on the hunt for new witnesses. Davis said they found one woman, allegedly passed along false facts and coached her on what to say when taking the stand.
Years later, when Thompson’s Conviction Review Unit undid the conviction, prosecutors pointed to the shaky witness. It was more than likely she wasn’t even there, they said.
"This is a positive first step that will allow the case to go forward," said David Shanies, who is representing Davis along with Ron Kuby. "We look forward to proving our client’s claims," Shanies said. He noted Davis still lives in the city and works as a union laborer.
The city’s Law Department didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.