New York Man Sundhe Moses Who Was Wrongfully Convicted of Murder Finally Exonerated after 24 Years
A man who served almost two decades behind bars for a murder he didn’t commit has finally cleared his name from all charges against him.
Sundhe Moses is finally record-free after over twenty years of fighting for his innocence which began when he was convicted for murder in1995.
As Sundhe Moses sat in a Brooklyn courtroom more than 20 years ago, he insisted that he had been forced into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. https://t.co/DuTdbcXxln— ABC News (@ABC) September 7, 2019
PLEADING GUILTY DUE TO COERCION
That year, four-year-old Shamone Johnson was killed in a drive-by shooting in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Moses was suspected of the crime though he was innocent. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life because he was forced to plead guilty after a notorious cop, Detective Louis Scarcella beat him to confess.
Over 50 convictions were reviewed since 2013 due to their link to Scarcella.
Sundhe Moses says the more he denied allegations he murdered a little girl, the more aggressive detectives became. pic.twitter.com/zdpQejY9QW— America Tonight (@AmericaTonight) May 21, 2014
INSISTING ON HIS INNOCENCE
For years, Moses fought for his freedom. In 2013, news of Scarcella’s suspicious pattern of behavior hit headlines. It was discovered that he would use questionable police tactics to force innocent men to confess to crimes. To date, 12 men and one woman had their convictions overturned because of this.
With the help of his lawyers, Moses used this information to argue his innocence during his parole hearing in 2013. This led to his release on parole just days after his birthday in December that same year."As a black person
Another case linked to former disgraced Brooklyn detective gets overturned: Sundhe Moses has long said that his conviction is illegitimate and that he falsely confessed to the murder only after Louis Scarcella "choked and hit him." https://t.co/qEqvTlpgxm (Winter/ @nytimes) pic.twitter.com/vV2eEbtFqb— The Innocence Project (@innocence) January 12, 2018
COPPING OUT TO A FELONY
However, there was a problem. Moses had another felony which he again confessed to under duress while in prison. He was convicted for possession of marijuana with traces of heroin just four years into his sentence.
Moses admitted that he decided to just confess to the crime due to the uncertainty of his future and the trial that dragged on. Anyway, he was already serving time. He was given an additional year-and-half sentence for the felony.
CLEARING HIS NAME
Last year, when Moses was finally exonerated from the murder charges, his lawyers fought to withdraw his guilty plea in the drug case. They argued that had Moses not been convicted for murder, he would not have committed the drug felony.
Prosecutors refused to drop charges then. But in June, they offered Moses to agree to plead guilty to a misdemeanor instead of a felony, though this would still mean he would have a criminal record. Moses refused.
"I wasn't comfortable with that. What if I had a dream to get into politics tomorrow? A misdemeanor or not, I don't need that on my record," the 43-year-old said.
Finally, on September 6, Clinton Country prosecutors gave in and dismissed the drug case citing the “interest of justice” as their reason.
Moses reflects after, "As a black person they think it's OK to have that on your record. They don't see it as you shouldn't have it at all. They looked at it as 'Just take it, you're out, you're free,' but I looked at it from a whole other perspective."
Today, Moses can proudly tell his son who was only 8-months old when he went to prison that his father was never a criminal. His record is clear.
Sundhe Moses was just 19 years old when he was forced into confessing to a crime that he never committed.— theGrio.com (@theGrio) September 9, 2019
It took 24 years, but he’s finally free.https://t.co/WCqPkOvwuI
DENYING HIS WRONGDOING
Meanwhile, over 50 convictions were reviewed since 2013 due to their link to Scarcella. As of March, the former detective was still facing yet another lawsuit in relation to the conviction of Nelson Cruz who, like Moses claims he was wrongfully charged due to Scarcella’s intervention. During the hearing, the detective denied accusations of his wrongdoing and downplayed his role by saying he doesn’t remember some things anymore.
In June, he also took the witness stand and even lashed out when he again tried to deny his involvement in the wrongful conviction of inmate Eliseo De Leon.
In May 2018, John Bunn was released from prison after he was proven innocent in a retrial. Again, he was wrongfully convicted in a case Scarcella was involved in.