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Friday, May 6, 2011

Focus on Past Attorney-Prosecutors

With conviction tossed, '92 Mt. Vernon slay to be retried as manslaughter case
The Journal News by Rebecca Baker   -  May 6, 2011

A Mount Vernon man whose manslaughter conviction for a 1992 fatal shooting was thrown out this year has pleaded not guilty to that charge, as prosecutors seek to convict him again in the slaying. Louis Hairston spent 18 years in prison before a judge overturned his conviction upon learning that the prosecutor in the case withheld evidence that could have exonerated him.  Hairston has been free without bail since January; he lives in Pennsylvania with his mother. Acting state Supreme Court Justice Richard Molea denied prosecutors' request to set bail at his arraignment Thursday. The Westchester County District Attorney's Office is pursuing a retrial. Because Hairston was not originally charged with manslaughter, prosecutors had to present the charge to a grand jury, which indicted him. Hairston is accused of killing 16-year-old Andre Frank, a junior at Mount Vernon High School, during a street fight in February 1992. Hairston was said to have fired a handgun during the melee, hitting Frank in the abdomen. The death of Frank, a popular athlete in Mount Vernon, sparked an uproar in the community that was fueled by accusations that his slaying was not investigated thoroughly.  A Westchester County jury convicted him of first-degree manslaughter as a lesser-included charge, and second-degree weapon possession on Oct. 14, 1992. He was sentenced to 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison.  He was 18. In reversing the conviction, acting state Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci criticized the now-retired prosecutor, George Bolen, for suppressing two police reports that he was required by law to turn over to the defense. Bolen was one of the county's top homicide prosecutors at the time. Hairston was Bolen's second high-profile homicide case to be overturned. Bolen also prosecuted Jeffrey Deskovic, who was freed in 2006 — a month after Bolen retired.  Deskovic spent 16 years in prison for a Peekskill murder he did not commit. Deskovic, then 16, falsely confessed to a 1989 slaying of a classmate, even though no physical evidence tied him to the crime. Police charged Hairston and two teenage brothers with murder for their roles in the Frank shooting. But a city judge dropped the charges against the brothers and prosecutors never pursued a case against them.  Hairston was prosecuted under District Attorney Carl Vergari. Janet DiFiore is the current district attorney.


victim said...

Talk about opening a can of worms! Westchester has to be close to the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

Is this another Jeanine case?

Anonymous said...

Another Pirro railroad job, Pirro belongs in jail not on TV

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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