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Hoping to right wrongs, New York prosecutor begins ambitious review of 90 disputed convictions

  • Convictions Questioned-1.jpg

    FILE- In this May 6, 2014 file photo, Robert Hill, center, smiles as he is escorted into Brooklyn Supreme Court in New York. Hill and his half-brothers Alvena Jennette and Darryl Austin were exonerated in a decades-old conviction investigated by retired homicide detective Louis Scarcella, who has had some of his tactics have come into question. The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Conviction Review Unit is currently re-examining more than cases that Scarcella worked on. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) (The Associated Press)

  • Convictions Questioned-2.jpg

    FILE- In this March 27, 2013 file photo, now retired New York City Police Detective Louis Scarcella poses for a photo after being interviewed in New York. After some of his investigative tactics came under scrutiny, the District Attorney in the Brooklyn borough of New York ordered his Conviction Review Unit to re-examine more than 50 cases that Scarcella worked on. (AP Photo/Tom Hays, File) (The Associated Press)

  • Convictions Questioned-3.jpg

    FILE- In this April 9, 2014 file photo, Derrick Hamilton, center, speaks at a rally on the steps of New York City Hall, as he and a group of other New York men who claim they were framed by a crooked police detective decades ago, demand for prosecutors to speed up a review of the detective's cases. Hamilton served 21 years in prison for a slaying he said he did not commit. His case was investigated by now-retired NYPD detective Louis Scarcella. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow, File) (The Associated Press)

A New York City prosecutor has embarked on one of the country's most ambitious efforts to review the murder cases of defendants who claim they were wrongly convicted.

Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson's review unit is re-examining about 90 mostly homicide cases from the 1980s and 1990s. Nearly 60 have links to one detective.

Other prosecutors' offices also have launched conviction review projects. But exoneration experts say few, if any, have tackled such a large and open-ended review of cases, all at once. They date to an era when New York's murder rate was soaring and the legal system was stretched to the limit.

Brooklyn prosecutors have persuaded judges to throw out six convictions so far this year. More dismissals are expected, but prosecutors say the process can be complex.

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