On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, the Daily News published an opinion piece calling for the removal of Brooklyn Judge Vincent Del Giudice from the bench.

Written by Lesley Risinger, director of the Last Resort Exoneration Project at Seton Hall University School of Law, the article examines Del Giudice’s conduct during several criminal cases that resulted in wrongful convictions. Specifically, it focuses on the case of Sheldon Thomas, who was convicted of murder in 2004 and incarcerated for 18 years before being exonerated.

During Thomas’ trial, Del Giudice permitted misconduct by police and prosecutors to go unchecked. This included allowing false witness identification testimony to be used as evidence even after the detective admitted to lying under oath. Del Giudice also allowed prosecutors to implicate another innocent co-defendant as being at the scene, even though they had privately dismissed the charges against that individual after discovering his alibi proved his innocence.

Risinger represented Thomas after his conviction in efforts to overturn the verdict based on the fabrication of evidence and police and prosecutorial misconduct. However, Del Giudice denied their motion without a hearing and refused them the discovery materials needed for their case. It was only years later when the Conviction Review Unit took over that exculpatory information was uncovered supporting Thomas’ claims of innocence.

In addition to this case, the article cites a March study that found Del Giudice responsible for half of all sentences in New York City that were deemed so excessive they required correction. This indicates Del Giudice has made “exceptionally troubling choices” in multiple cases over his career on the bench in Brooklyn.

Appointed in 2002 during a period of mass incarceration, Risinger argues Del Giudice has carried those mindsets with him to the present day. Given the clear pattern of misconduct allowed under his watch and excessively harsh sentences imposed, the article concludes Del Giudice should not be reappointed after his current term ends, having dealt “irrevocable harms” to many New Yorkers through his time as a judge.

 

 

Source: Daily News