The Brooklyn DA's office is currently reviewing 50 murder convictions involving retired NYPD Detective Louis Scarcella, who helped wrongfully convict a recently released man who served 23 years for a murder he didn't commit. Previously the DA's office said they had "ruled out" reviewing Scarcella's cases, but the Times seems to have forced their hand after plunging into Scarcella's shocking record and finding that the detective used the same crack addict as a witness for at least six different murders.
Teresa Gomez died in a hit and run incident several years ago, but in the late '80s she was a drug addicted prostitute who lawyers called "Louie's go-to witness." She once told Scarcella that she witnessed a fatal shooting through a keyhole, but an investigation later showed no keyhole existed. Her testimony was often incoherent and contradictory, and, as one prosecutor would later write, “It was near folly to even think that anyone would believe Gomez about anything."
When asked about Gomez, Scarcella said he couldn't remember many of the details of the cases she was involved in, but that he "stood by her 100 percent."
The Times found the former prosecutor's anecdote on a Google Groups cigar forum in which members recounted their first and last cigars. Neil Ross, who is now a Manhattan criminal court judge, waxes nostalgically about how his first real "cigar was given to me by a legendary detective of the Brooklyn North Homicide Squad named Louis Scarcella" in celebration of a conviction, and recounts many of the details that show up in the Times' report.
"Damn, do lawyers ever run on, or what?" Ross writes at the end of his yarn. When asked about Ross' comments on Gomez's unreliability, Scarcella told the paper, "That is horrible. I don't know what else to say."
Scarcella, who once appeared on Dr. Phil to boast about how he lied to witnesses to force confessions, estimates that he worked on roughly 175 homicide cases himself, and assisted in another 175 before retiring in 1999.
When told the Brooklyn DA's office was reviewing 50 of his cases, he said, “Are you kidding me? Wow. This is quite a bit of a shock. Let them look at my convictions. I will help them if they need me. I don’t know what else to say. I expect he will find nothing."