Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, will ask the Court for case dismissals involving the convictions of 24 individuals, who pled guilty to charges directly related to the work of former New York City Police Department (NYPD) Detective Joseph Franco. In addition, the office will move to seal arrest records of three individuals whose felony charges were already dismissed upon completion of diversion programs, and one who previously pled guilty to a Disorderly Conduct charge. The dismissals will involve 18 felony indictments and six misdemeanor complaints.
The former detective has been indicted and is awaiting trial in Manhattan for perjury, official misconduct and other charges. He was dismissed from the NYPD in May of 2020 following an NYPD disciplinary trial. The administrative judge who oversaw the trial found that Franco had testified falsely under oath and recommended his termination. The Police Commissioner concurred with this recommendation. In March of 2021, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office (SNP) first obtained access to the administrative judge’s full written disciplinary decision and findings.
The dismissals and sealings are a result of a comprehensive review of all cases in which Franco played a role. The office is dismissing any case in which Franco was an essential witness (the case could not have been prosecuted without him). Although the review did not uncover misconduct in any of the individual cases, the perjury and official misconduct accusations against the detective directly impugn his integrity and credibility. SNP had previously dismissed charges against two defendants whose cases were pending at the time the investigation into Franco was revealed. At the time, the office also determined that no individual was incarcerated based solely on an SNP indictment where Franco’s testimony was essential.
Between 2009 and 2018, Franco was a narcotics detective throughout New York City, and worked with prosecutors in the District Attorney’s Offices in Brooklyn, Bronx and Manhattan, as well as SNP. Over a decade-long period, Franco was a member of several different narcotics squads across the city. The criteria used by SNP in its analysis is consistent with the approach taken by the aforementioned District Attorneys’ Offices, which handled the vast majority of cases involving Franco.
SNP is working with the Office of Court administration to calendar the dismissals and will notify affected individuals and their attorneys of record.