Emerging from an unusually hard-fought battle in which Queens prosecutors have accused one of the city’s most prominent law firms of unethical conduct, pro bono attorneys have convinced an appellate court to uphold a decision granting a new trial for a man who spent 14 years behind bars for a murder he insists he did not commit.
Kareem Bellamy was released on $150,000 bail shortly after Queens Acting Supreme Court Justice Joel Blumenfeld (See Profile) in June 2008 vacated his conviction for stabbing to death a man in Far Rockaway. After hearing from 25 witnesses at a months-long hearing, the judge agreed with Mr. Bellamy’s attorneys that the verdict had been undermined by newly discovered evidence—a statement by an informant that another man had confessed that he, not Mr. Bellamy, had committed the murder and a purported recording of a conversation between the informant and the allegedly guilty party (NYLJ, July 11, 2008).
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