Photos: YouTube Screenshots
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., together with the Legal Aid Society, New York County Defender Services, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and the Assigned Counsel Plan announced this week the vacatur of 316 convictions tied to nine New York City Police Department officers previously convicted of crimes related to their law enforcement duties.
308 of the convictions are misdemeanors and eight are felonies. Two of the misdemeanor convictions vacated today were initially felony indictments prior to being resolved as misdemeanor pleas. In November 2022, the Office vacated 188 convictions tied to eight officers. Those eight officers, along with one additional officer Oscar Sandino, are tied to this group of vacaturs.
The misdemeanor cases were vacated in Manhattan Criminal Court today, and the felonies were vacated in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The District Attorney’s Office moved to vacate the convictions on the grounds of due process violations and dismiss the underlying cases following an investigation conducted by the Office’s Post-Conviction Justice Unit (“PCJU”). Today’s vacaturs are part of an ongoing PCJU review of more than 1,100 cases connected to a list of 22 former NYPD officers convicted of crimes provided to the Office in 2021 by public defender and advocacy groups.
In a Tuesday statement, D.A. Bragg said:
“Today’s announcement makes clear that we are continuing to prioritize investigating and clearing convictions that undermine trust in the criminal justice system. This work is essential for improving public safety and achieving fundamental fairness. We cannot stand by convictions that are built on cases brought by members of law enforcement who have violated the law.
“These cases represent hundreds of New Yorkers who have been living with the serious costs that come with a conviction, including barriers to employment, housing and education. Beyond these devasting impacts on the individuals directly impacted, our city is collectively harmed when we prevent our friends, family and neighbors from living stable and successful lives.”
“We applaud District Attorney Alvin Bragg for taking further action to vacate convictions involving discredited NYPD officers,” said Elizabeth Felber, supervising attorney of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “While we hope that this moment delivers some justice and closure to the New Yorkers impacted by these tactics, the sad reality is that many were forced to suffer incarceration, hefty legal fees, loss of employment, housing instability, severed access to critical benefits and other collateral consequences. The Legal Aid Society urges DA Bragg and other local prosecutors to continue to conduct these reviews on a rolling basis with full transparency. The same lens used on our clients charged with criminal conduct must be applied to those in law enforcement. Anything less will erode the public’s trust in the criminal legal system to hold those accountable for egregious acts of misconduct.”
The convictions occurred between 1996 and 2017. 57 of the convictions resulted in incarceration and 132 resulted in fines. The officers who played a material role in these convictions include:
- Jason Arbeeny (24 cases): convicted of Official Misconduct, Offering a False Instrument for Filing and Falsifying Business Records for planting drugs on two individuals. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and 300 hours of community service in 2012.
- Johnny Diaz (129 cases): convicted of Bribe-Receiving in the Second Degree, Petit Larceny and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree for accepting bribes and gifts from an undercover officer posing as a drug dealer, who he also helped to transport cocaine. He was sentenced to six years in prison in 2018.
- Michael Arenella (21 cases): convicted of Petit Larceny, Official Misconduct and Falsifying Business Records for taking money from an undercover officer who posed as a drug dealer and using the money to pay an informant. He was sentenced to 160 hours of community service in 2009.
- Michael Carsey (26 cases): convicted of Perjury in the First Degree and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree for lying under oath about how he obtained information that led to an arrest. He was sentenced to conditional discharge with 36 days of community service in 2012.
- Nicholas Mina (12 cases): convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree for stealing and selling guns from a precinct house. He was sentenced to a total of 15 ½ years in 2012.
- Richard Hall (27 cases): convicted of Bribe-Receiving in the Third Degree and Official Misconduct for releasing an 18-year-old woman from custody in exchange for sexual favors from her. He was sentenced to five years’ probation in 2019.
- William Eiseman (56 cases): convicted of Perjury in the First Degree and Official Misconduct for providing false testimony and conducting unlawful searches. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and three months in jail in 2011.
- Michael Foder (2 cases): convicted of False Declarations before Grand Jury or Court for lying under oath at a federal hearing. He was sentenced to three months in jail in 2019. He was sentenced to three months in jail on the federal perjury charges in 2019.
- Oscar Sandino (19 cases): convicted of two counts of Deprivation of Civil Rights (a federal misdemeanor) for coerced sexual misconduct against two women in custody. He was sentenced to two years in prison and one year of supervised release in 2011.
The investigation is being led by Assistant D.A. Elizabeth Seymour (Deputy Chief of the Post-Conviction Justice Unit) under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Terri Rosenblatt (Chief of the Post-Conviction Justice Unit). Assistant D.A. Willoughby Jenett, and Investigative Analysts Daniel Altabet and Thomas Martin provided invaluable assistance.
Source: Manhattan DA’s Office