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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lawyer-Prosecutor Beats DWI Because of Corrupt Cops

Ex-Bronx prosecutor beats drunk-driving rap because cops who busted him admitted to fixing tickets
The New York Daily News by Kevin Deutsch - June 2, 2011

Ex-Bronx prosecutor Stephen Lopresti leaves Bronx Supreme Court surounded by lawyers.
A former Bronx prosecutor was acquitted of drunken-driving charges Thursday because the cops who busted him brazenly fixed summonses for family and friends, jurors said. Stephen Lopresti was cleared after the jury deemed Officers Julissa Goris and Harrington Marshall "completely corrupt" based on their ticket-fixing, jurors told the Daily News. "Their corruption was ridiculous," said juror Isaac Johnson, 22. "They have no integrity. They don't even deserve a badge." Goris and Marshall are among hundreds of cops implicated in a massive ticket-fixing scandal in the Bronx. The pair defended squashing summonses as a "professional courtesy" while on the stand last week. Jurors said they did not believe a word of the duo's testimony about Lopresti, who was arrested for DWI after a December 2006 crash. "The ticket-fixing shows how crooked and completely corrupt they are," said juror Guadalupe Torres, 58. "They've probably done this so many times. We reached a verdict immediately because it was a clean-cut case." They deliberated just 45 minutes before springing Lopresti. "I'm going to church and thank my Lord," said a teary-eyed Lopresti, a practicing lawyer who would have been disbarred if convicted. His lawyer, Steven Epstein, said the verdict sent a message to cops across the city that "corruption won't be tolerated." The acquittal was also a stinging rebuke to the Bronx district attorney's office, whose prosecutors have been offering sweetheart plea deals to dozens of accused criminals in order to keep ticket-fixing cops off the stand, sources said. Asked whether prosecutors would have to continue to cut more plea deals, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson told The News: "We will weigh the merits of each case individually as they come." Prosecutors have lost both Bronx trials in which cops linked to the scandal testified, including the acquittal of accused attempted murderer Lance Williams . "They conceded a lot of cases because of tainted cops, but figured the ones they took to trial were going to be wins," said a source close to the ticket-fixing investigation. "They badly miscalculated how jurors would react to this. It's an embarrassment." Defense lawyers in the Bronx are salivating over the chance to use what's been dubbed the "ticket-fixing defense." "It's obvious we can get acquittals by hammering away on this issue," one lawyer said. With Bob Kappstatter

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