Alvin Bragg wipes two murder convictions

 December 13, 2023

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has wiped the convictions of two men found guilty of murder decades ago. 

Bragg said new evidence had exonerated Jabar Walker, 49, and Wayne Gardine, also 49.

Both men were convicted of separate murders in Harlem during the 1990s, when the city experienced a violent crime surge.

Alvin Bragg wipes convictions....

Walker served 25 years for the murders of two men, William Santana and Ismael De La Cruz, who were found shot dead in a car one night in 1995.

Gardine was convicted of killing Robert David Mickens in 1994 and spent almost 30 years in prison before his release on parole last year.

The Legal Aid Society, which worked with Bragg on the convictions, said Gardine's case was built on unreliable witness testimony.

"Unjust convictions are the height of injustice and while we can never completely undo the pain he has experienced, I hope this is the first step in allowing Mr. Gardine to rebuild his life and reunite with his loved ones," Bragg said.

Bragg citied "newly discovered evidence" in releasing Walker. Bragg also said Walker did not receive adequate legal representation.

"Not only was the case against Jabar Walker built upon unreliable and recanted testimony, he did not have the benefit of an effective defense attorney -- one of the constitutional bedrocks of our criminal justice system," Bragg said in a statement.

"Despite these serious issues, Mr. Walker received a sentence that could have kept him in prison for his entire life. I am thrilled he can now finally return home, and thank the Innocence Project for its steadfast advocacy throughout this matter."

Selective law enforcement

Gardine, an immigrant from Jamaica, is facing deportation back to his home country. The Legal Aid Society has called for his deportation to be canceled.

Undoing "wrongful" convictions has become a focus of left-wing prosecutors, who often seem more interested in finding reasons to free criminals than to punish them.

In his short time on the job, Bragg has wiped hundreds of supposedly unjust convictions, which he has attributed to crooked police from the city's past.

While crime in New York remains well below the 1990s epidemic, a rise in street violence has left city residents rattled and afraid.

Bragg has come under fire for his overzealous and selective prosecution of people acting in self-defense, such as subway passenger Daniel Penny and bodega owner Jose Alba.

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