Thursday, April 2, 2015


Brooklyn District Attorney Moves to Vacate Weapons Conviction Stemming
From 1988 Shooting Following Re-Examination by Conviction Review Unit

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that following a thorough review by his Conviction Review Unit, he will move to vacate a second-degree criminal possession of a weapon conviction against Carlos Davis, who was convicted of the charge following a 1991 jury trial.

Carlos Davis, 45, was charged with second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the September 17, 1988, shooting death of Norris Williams in the vicinity of Cozine Avenue, between Hendrix Street and Schenck Avenue, in East New York, during a confrontation between two separate groups of young men. He was acquitted of the murder charge but convicted of the weapons charge on February 8, 1991. On March 5, 1991, he was sentenced to seven and one-half to 15 years’ incarceration, and released from custody in March 1997.

After examining all of the facts and circumstances of the case against Davis it was determined that the sole witness who testified against him at trial lied about her identity, including her name and address; contradicted grand jury testimony of several eyewitnesses who later refused to testify at trial; may have had an undisclosed relationship with the victim’s brother; and came forward only after a judge warned prosecutors mid-trial that she would be dismissing the case for lack of evidence.

The CRU investigation concluded that the defendant’s attorney lacked the opportunity to effectively cross-examine the sole incriminating witness against him by her intentional concealment of her identity. Coupled with her last-minute appearance at trial and inconsistencies in her testimony, it is recommended the conviction be vacated.

The District Attorney said that his Conviction Review Unit examined that case because it was one of approximately 70 cases in which retired Detective Louis Scarcella was involved. The investigation, however, concluded there was no wrongdoing by Detective Scarcella and that he played no part in bringing the last-minute witness forward.

To date, the work of the Conviction Review Unit, headed by Harvard Law Professor Ronald S. Sullivan, Jr., has resulted in ___ convictions being vacated, and one appeal being dropped.  In addition, the CRU has found that of the cases reviewed thus far, ___ convictions are just and will not be recommended to be vacated.  Approximately 100 cases are pending review.