Editors’ Note: This item has been updated to reflect a Correction.
Jabbar Collins, who is suing New York City in the wake of his vacated murder conviction, is attempting to depose retired detective Louis Scarcella.
Collins is pressing a high-profile lawsuit that seeks to hold the city liable for alleged systemic misconduct by police and prosecutors that it claims led to Collins’ 1995 conviction.
Last month, Collins’ attorney, Joel Rudin of Manhattan, notified Scarcella’s attorney, Alan Abramson of Abramson & Morak, that he sought to depose Scarcella, whose police work and cases have come under scrutiny after Brooklyn prosecutors joined a defense bid last year to drop David Ranta’s 1991 murder conviction in an unrelated case. Scarcella has rejected accusations of wrongdoing in any of his cases.
Scarcella and retired detective Vincent Gerecitano worked together in the Brooklyn North Homicide squad, Rudin said in court papers. Gerecitano is a defendant in the Collins’ suit.
Rudin noted the complaint argued law enforcement policies “were responsible for Gerecitano’s investigative misconduct … These are the same practices of Scarcella’s that have been widely reported in the news media and are supported by court records.”
Abramson and co-counsel Joel S. Cohen of Manhattan asked the court to adjourn the deposition so they could prepare a motion to quash. In an interview, Abramson emphasized Scarcella had been “improperly subpoenaed” after playing “absolutely no role whatsoever” in the Collins case.
The city joined the adjournment request and said it “expect[s]” to join the quash motion.
In a March 31 letter, Assistant Corporation Counsel Arthur Larkin said Collins could not point to any cases the pair worked on and could not link Gerecitano’s alleged conduct to Scarcella. Scarcella also is not “authorized” to testify about city practices, Larkin added.
On Monday, Eastern District Magistrate Judge Robert Levy set a briefing schedule for a quash motion.