New York City has moved to stop an embattled former detective from being deposed in a high-profile wrongful conviction suit, insisting that testimony from the detective is unnecessary.
Jabbar Collins is seeking to depose retired Brooklyn detective Louis Scarcella in a civil rights suit alleging that systemic police and prosecutorial misconduct led to Collins’ vacated 1995 murder conviction.
A number of Scarcella’s cases are being re-examined by the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, and Collins insists that the testimony of Scarcella, a non-party, is “plainly relevant and material” to the case.
In a court papers supporting a motion to quash the deposition, Assistant Corporation Counsel Arthur Larkin wrote in Collins v. City of New York, 11-cv-766, that Scarcella had been “accused in public news reports” of wrongdoing but has denied any such action.
Because Scarcella was “unlikely to admit wrongdoing,” Larkin said it was also “unlikely” he would provide insight into whether police and officials in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office “knew about any alleged wrongdoing, much less whether those policymaking officials were ‘deliberately indifferent’ to it.”
The city said Collins failed to show a connection between Scarcella and the conduct of Vincent Gerecitano, a retired detective sued in the Collins case, “other than asserting that because they were both detectives and they both worked in Brooklyn, they both must be participants in the same alleged ‘policy or custom’ that caused constitutional injury to Jabbar Collins.”
Collins, represented by Joel Rudin of Manhattan, has opposed the quash motion. Rudin has said deposition testimony from officials, including former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, provided “further evidence of [Hynes'] “indifference” to purported law enforcement misconduct (NYLJ, April 16).