The last of 324 Bronx criminal cases linked to ex-NYPD Det. Joseph Franco — who was fired from the force for allegedly lying about drug busts — have been tossed after an internal review by prosecutors, officials said Thursday.
Bronx Supreme Court Justice Margaret Martin, at prosecutors’ request, threw out the 67 remaining low-level drug case convictions stemming from Franco’s stint as an undercover narcotics detective from 2011 to 2015.
“Prosecutors had relied on evidence from someone with compromised credibility, and the district attorney cannot stand behind these convictions,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a statement.
The Bronx DA’s office had already moved in January 2022 to toss 133 felony cases that had hinged on the testimony of Franco, 50, who was fired from the NYPD in April 2020 after being found guilty at a departmental trial of making false statements.
Prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn have also gotten dozens of felony convictions dismissed in recent years that relied on Franco’s testimony or sworn statements.
The nearly 20-year veteran of the force was accused of framing innocent people by lying about observing them dealing drugs.
Franco, whose lawyer has claimed that the ex-detective was just “doing his job,” was indicted in Manhattan state court in 2019 on perjury and official misconduct charges based on his alleged lies about watching drug deals go down in three Manhattan cases between 2017 and 2018.
But his case was abruptly thrown out in January after the Manhattan DA’s office admitted that it had botched its prosecution by failing to share evidence with Franco’s attorney within the required timeframe.
Franco had pleaded not guilty, and the judge’s decision to dismiss the case means that the DA’s office will be unable to prosecute Franco again on the charges.
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