Former NYC Prosecutor Threw Case to Help Innocent Prisoners
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A story in today's New York Times reveals that former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Daniel Bibb did something in 2005 that few prosecutors will ever do, or admit to doing -- he helped the defense win a case. When mounting evidence indicated that David Lemus and Olmedo Hidalgo were serving 25 years to life for a 1990 murder they didn't commit, Bibb was charged with reinvestigating the case within the prosecutor's office. Together with two NYPD detectives, Bibb spent two years investigating the case, and came back to tell his superiors that he believed Lemus and Hidalgo to be innocent and recommended that their charges be dropped, the Times reported today. He was ordered to argue the case anyway.
So he stayed on the case, but he began to work closely with defense attorneys, he says.
"I did the best I could â€¦ to lose," he said. "I had always been taught that we made the decisions, that we made the tough calls, that we didn't take things and throw them up against the wall" for a judge or jury to sort out. "If the evidence doesn't convince me, then I'm never going to be able to convince a jury."
"I didn't work for the other side," he said. "I worked for what I thought was the right thing."
Finally, Bibb convinced his bosses to drop the charges against Hidalgo, but they continued with their case against Lemus. In October 2005 a judge ordered a new trial for Lemus, and Bibb resigned from the DA's office, starting a new career as a defense attorney. In December 2007, Lemus was acquitted at his second trial.
Watch a Dateline NBC documentary on the case here.