An Eastern District judge has urged the city of New York to settle with Jabbar Collins, whose murder conviction was vacated in 2010 after he spent 16 years in prison.
At a hearing Tuesday, Eastern District Judge Frederic Block (See Profile) set an Oct. 20 trial date for Collins’ $150 million civil suit against the city, warning the parties, “I cannot and will not make any adjournments.”
Block mentioned the de Blasio Administration’s openness to settling wrongful conviction cases.
Collins’ attorney, Joel Rudin, and attorneys for the city told the judge they are in talks. “I believe we have made a very substantial effort to resolve this case,” Assistant Corporation Counsel Arthur Larkin said.
Collins alleges in Collins v. City of New York, 11-cv-766, that he was a victim of systemic police and prosecutorial misconduct. The case is in discovery before Eastern District Magistrate Judge Robert Levy (See Profile).
Levy, who appeared alongside Block on Tuesday, denied Rudin’s motion to reopen former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ deposition in light of a controversial Department of Investigation report on his office.
Levy did, however, direct the city to turn over emails obtained in the DOI report that specifically mentioned Collins.
He granted Rudin’s motion to depose one former and one current assistant district attorney. Finally, Levy outlined what Rudin would be allowed to ask in his deposition of former detective Louis Scarcella, who did not work on the Collins case but whose past work is under review by Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson.
Rudin expressed hope that the case would be settled by October. “I think Jabbar would like to get on with his life,” Rudin said. “This has been going on since 1994.”