Murderer Convicted Of Drive-By Shooting Goes Free On Technicality

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inmate drive-by shooting
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After being incarcerated for a murder charge, a man convicted of a drive-by shooting in 2018, was released due to a procedural misstep in Rochester, New York.

Killer in drive-by shooting free after serving seven years

Terrence Lewis for the slaying of Johnny Washington in a 2015 drive-by, Lewis has walked free because the legal system didn’t dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s.

Lewis had been initially incarcerated on drug-related charges at a federal facility in Pennsylvania since November 2017.

He was then indicted for Washington’s murder and subsequently transported to New York to face arraignment in a Monroe County courtroom.

After his New York court appearance, he was returned to Pennsylvania before the impending trial in New York, the the Democrat & Chronicle detailed.

How a man convicted of a drive-by shooting got away with it

The Supreme Court of the state ruled that the series of transfers invoked a breach of the 1970 Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD) law’s anti-shuttling provisions, leading to the dismissal of the murder charges.

According to this law, a prisoner must undergo trial on any new indictment before being returned to the initial place of imprisonment, failing which, the new charges must be dismissed.

Despite Lewis’s eventual transfer back to New York leading to his conviction on the second-degree murder charge, the judge decided that the contravention of the IAD law necessitated the dismissal of the charge and nullified his 22 years to life sentence.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Stephen T. Miller said that the result of the murder charge reversal was “the harsh reality” of an “administrative jail decision made based on jail population and timing, not the law.”

Cops apologize family of drive-by shooting victim

Following the vacating of his conviction, Lewis was discharged earlier in the month from the detention facility where he was housed, Five Points Correctional Facility, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Monroe County Sheriff Todd K. Baxte said that “there are no words to take away the pain” the friends and family of Washington were “justly feeling” about “the lack of fairness being served based on this decision, which violates the principles of justice.”

Elsewhere in the state, federal and city probes led to a joint task force raiding the residences of two New York City Fire Department (FDNY) chiefs, along with the FDNY headquarters in Brooklyn  on Thursday morning, over suspected corruption within the department.

Senior FDNY chiefs Brian Cordasco and Anthony Saccavino, responsible for municipal safety assessments, had their homes searched over claims they accepted bribes to expedite or manipulate safety evaluations.

According to the New York Times (NYT), Cordasco and Saccavino are suspected of potentially having accepted approximately $100,000 to hasten or otherwise interfere with inspections.

Presently, neither has been criminally charged, but federal agents confiscated their phones amidst home raids during an investigation that began in the summer of 2023.

Files and computer equipment were seized from the fire prevention division’s office of the FDNY’s head office.

The search was precipitated by a formal complaint the FDNY logged with NYC’s Department of Investigation, with specific details of the grievance yet to be disclosed.

According to reports, the promotion of the two fire chiefs was sanctioned by Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh, when three other chiefs were demoted exactly a year ago.

“The FDNY’s first priority is always keeping New Yorkers safe, and we expect every member of the department to act appropriately,” a department spokesperson said about the scandal.

As soon as Commissioner Kavanagh was alerted to these allegations last fall, she immediately referred them to DOI to investigate them.”

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