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The Manhattan District Attorney's Office Asks for More Time to Investigate the Famous Central Park Jogger Case: A Roundtable Discussion On Forced Confessions

September 20, 2002
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The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has asked for more time to investigate the famous Central Park Jogger case that rocked the city and inflamed racial tensions in New York and around the country more than a decade ago.

In April 1989, a young white jogger in Central Park was raped, beaten and left for dead. Five African-American and Latino teenagers were convicted. They served many years in jail; the last just got out of prison several weeks ago after thirteen years. At the time, the headlines screamed, 'Wolf Pack', 'Wilding,' 'Teenagers singing wilding songs in prison.'

[It may have been a deciding factor in the New York State Legislature’s decision to re-establish the state’s death penalty. Shortly after the attack Donald Trump took out full paid ads in all the New York papers calling to "Bring Back the Death Penalty" and referring to the young defendants.]

But in news that was barely reported just this last January, convicted rapist Matias Reyes unexpectedly confessed to the crime. He said he did it alone. Several months later, DNA tests showed that Reyes "proved beyond question" that he raped the jogger, according to a law enforcement official quoted in the New York Times.

Now, the Manhattan DA say sit needs more time to investigate whether Matias Reyes was the only assailant in the infamous Central Park Jogger case. The original defendants, five African American and Latino teenagers are calling for a reversal of the convictions.

The first hearing on the case was scheduled for September 9th has now been put off until October.

Guests:

  • Michael Warren, attorney for Central Park Jogger defendants.
  • Christopher Dunn, NYCLU Associate Legal Director.
  • Steve Drizin, a clinical associate professor at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago and a staff attorney at the law school’s Center on Wrongful Convictions.

Tape:

  • Matias Reyes’ confession.

Related link:


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