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by Shulman & Hill
Despite DeLeon’s murder conviction being tossed in 2019, the Brooklyn DA is trying to put him on trial yet again. Shulman & Hill is fighting to ensure he remains free.
In the last decade, 15 convictions made by now disgraced NYPD retired detectives Louis Scarcella and Stephen Chmil have been overturned. As each case is brought to light, our city is learning more and more about the pressure and deceitful tactics used to elicit false confessions and place innocent people behind bars.
One of those convictions involves our client Eliseo DeLeon who spent 24 years behind bars for a murder that he insists he did not commit. Despite the murder conviction being tossed in 2019 and an appeals court siding in DeLeon’s favor last year, the Brooklyn DA is trying to put him on trial yet again.
Shulman & Hill’s civil rights practice is fighting for DeLeon’s interests to ensure he remains free and does not have to revisit this traumatic time of his life.
In 1995, when DeLeon was just 18 years old, he was arrested for the murder of Fausto Cordero who was killed during an armed robbery. DeLeon remembers that at the time of the arrest, he was turning a new leaf in his life. He did not, he says, murder Cordero.
While detectives claimed he confessed to the murder, in a video of his interview with prosecutors shortly after, DeLeon can be heard saying, “I need a lawyer. I’m not going to just… be a fool, put myself on tape and say something I didn’t do.”
In an interview with the New York Daily News, DeLeon recalled that the prosecutor assigned to his case believed DeLeon’s chances of getting off were high and that the prosecutor would likely lose. At the time of his arrest, all signs seemed to indicate that he would be proven innocent.
Though DeLeon was ultimately charged with the murder, his case was clouded with allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct. In 2012, a Brooklyn prosecutor told DeLeon his case was under investigation for wrongful prosecution. Though nothing came of it, in 2019 DeLeon was finally released and the charges were dropped from his name.
Shulman & Hill Civil Rights Partner Cary London discussed how DeLeon’s case is just one more example of how former detectives Scarcella and Chmil were not always concerned about finding out the truth. Rather, they were just looking for a person to pay for the crime, regardless of whether or not they may have been innocent, in order to close out their case.
“Scarcella and Chmil didn’t care if they had the right suspect,” Cary London said. “They only cared that they had a suspect. That is the type of police officers they were.”
“They just don’t want to let it go,” DeLeon said of the Brooklyn District Attorney trying to reopen his case. “I don’t have no more to give them. I gave them 24 years, and I can’t give them no more.”
Sadly, DeLeon’s case is just one example of the many instances when New Yorkers’ civil rights are violated. Wrongful convictions can steal decades of life from an innocent person. At Shulman & Hill, we understand how these tragedies can destroy the life of an individual, their family, and their larger community. That is why we fight on their behalf to restore justice.
If you or a loved one were wrongfully convicted or suffered from police brutality, police misconduct, or a similar civil rights violation, please contact our New York City civil rights lawyers for a free legal consultation.