“Rape Cops” Dispute Official Misconduct Charges

Lindsay Beyerstein

Now that’s what I call chutzpah: The two police officers found not guilty last year of raping a drunk woman in her apartment are now challenging their convictions on the lesser charge of official misconduct on the grounds that they didn’t benefit enough from their dereliction of duty:

In arguments already rejected by the trial judge, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata are insisting that to properly win a conviction on official misconduct, prosecutors had to prove that the cops received a benefit, such as cash or a free meal, in return for being derelict of duty.

Yes, it was derelict of duty for Moreno and Mata to return three times to the East Village apartment of a drunken, 27-year-old fashion exec, but the two were acquitted of collecting the benefit” of rape and burglary, their lawyers, Joseph Tacopina and Edward Mandery.

No rape, no burglary, no benefit – and so no official misconduct, their lawyers argue. [NYP]

The accuser caught one of the officers admitting on tape that he used a condom when he had intercourse with her. Obviously, the jury didn’t think that the prosecution proved that was rape, but it certainly sounds like a benefit” derived from misconduct on duty.

As usual, the NY Post omits any context that might enable us to make sense of the issue. The cops’ lawyers say the statute says X, but what do independent experts say? Is this a real loophole in the law that needs to be fixed, or is this just a frivolous gambit by the defense?

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Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times’ City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://​www​.hill​man​foun​da​tion​.org/​h​i​l​l​m​a​nblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.
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