February 8, 2007
Federal Judge Overturns DiSimone Conviction Due to Withholding of Evidence by DA Pirro's Office
Today's Journal News reports that a federal judge has overturned the conviction of Anthony DiSimone in the Louis Balancio slaying, citing "very serious" evidence withheld by former District Attorney Jeanine Pirro's office. The withheld evidence included a statement given to police that someone else had committed the murder. Former prosecutor and Pace Professor Bennett Gershman told the paper, "It doesn't get any worse than this," and called the DA's handling of the case "as outrageous an example of prosecutorial misconduct as there is." Prosecutorial misconduct, by the way, is one of this former prosecutor's academic specialties. "This shows that she's not a professional prosecutor. It shows that she's about winning at all costs and breaking the rules to win," said Gershman.
Prosecutorial misconduct by the DA in Richie's case is relevant news indeed. The above events took place around the same time period as Richie's case (mid- to late 90s) and involved the same sort of misconduct Richie is charging in his new appeal, that is, the withholding of evidence likely to be exculpatory. Richie's appeal maintains that this evidence--tape recordings allegedly made of eyewitness statements to police--would have been crucial because it would have contradicted the statements eyewitnesses are now recanting as manipulated by law enforcement agents.