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Monday, June 23, 2008

Manhattan Prosecutor's Shocker

The New York Post by LAURA ITALIANO - June 23, 2008

A former Manhattan prosecutor threw a murder case because he was convinced the two defendants were innocent, he told The Post last night. Daniel Bibb shockingly admitted that in 2005, while he was an assistant Manhattan DA, he not only tried to lose his case against David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo - he actually helped their lawyers find witnesses and plot strategy. "I would hope that any lawyer faced with the dilemma that I was in would do exactly what I had done - seeking justice instead of just walking in lockstep to defend convictions that I didn't believe in," he said. The two men were convicted in 1992 of the Nov. 23, 1990, murder of bouncer Marcus Peterson outside the Palladium nightclub on East 14th Street. But in 2003, a Bronx drug dealer admitted to the slaying, and District Attorney Robert Morgenthau assigned Bibb to participate in a reinvestigation. After a 21-month probe, a judge granted a defense request for a hearing on the new evidence Bibb, now 53, said he was asked to represent the DA's office at the 2005 hearing, despite the fact that he had urged his bosses to drop the convictions.

The longtime assistant prosecutor didn't bow out of the case - explaining that he feared his replacement might actually win a second conviction. Instead, he said, he helped the defense lawyers locate witnesses, and even critiqued their cross-examination. He admitted he "did the best" he could to lose. His strategy was successful. A judge granted Lemus a new trial - at which he was acquitted - and prosecutors dropped Hidalgo's conviction. Bibb stayed with the case until just before he submitted final written arguments. Then he left the DA's office a few months later - to become a defense lawyer. Asked why he didn't walk out of the DA's office until the very end, he said, "Try quitting a job when you have three kids and a mortgage."

The Palladium case had become a political hot potato, and Morgenthau was facing a tough re-election fight in 2005. Lemus and Hidalgo originally had been convicted based on eyewitness testimony. But both men insisted crucial evidence had been withheld, and repeatedly appealed their convictions. When asked by The Post just before the 2005 election if his office was keeping innocent men in prison, Morgenthau replied, "There were four eyewitnesses to the shooting. The case was tried before a jury, and the jury convicted." But after the new evidence emerged, he said, "We thought it was appropriate to have a hearing," and added, "It was a thorough, professional job done by our office." A spokesperson for the Manhattan DA's Office could not immediately be reached for comment on Bibb's admission. Additional reporting by Ed Robinson and Lucas Alpert


Anonymous said...

I saw this story on Dateline...Wow..I really admire Detective Bobby Aldorato for saving these guys lives, and Dateline for running the story. Because without the media pressure Lord only knows if these guys would have been set free. The District Attorney Office needs to go down after hearing this story..I hope the FEDS are on this one.

Anonymous said...

Daniel Bibb did the right thing for JUSTICE! This also shows what Morgenthau is all about, he is a complete fraud and should be removed from the DA's Office.

Anonymous said...

so why didn't the police and the prosecutors do their job right the first time?

Zoey said...

This man needs to be commended!

There are to many people that will just cover up the scandals and abuse of power!

Anonymous said...

minoritys get in comparison to non-minoritys get more jail time and are convicted more often than non-minoritys. To add to that N.Y is the only state with the Rockerfeller drog laws. Other states said they were to harsh.
When was the last time you heard some one running for office come out against the law. Yet they go into minority areas begging for votes.

Anonymous said...


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