BROOKLYN CONVICTION REVIEW UNIT: ‘Nicholas Warren’ (1986)

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‘Significant Witness Credibility Issues,’ Recantation Frees Man 34 Years Later

By Nikki Suzani

BROOKLYN – After serving his time, defendant Nicholas Warren finally got his conviction of robbery vacated 34 years later in the Brooklyn DA’s Conviction Review Unit’s (CRU) project to overturn wrongful convictions.

In 1986, Warren was convicted of Burglary in the Second Degree and sentenced to 1.5 to 4.5 years in prison after a witness, referred to as P.K. for confidentiality reasons, identified him as the man holding a television in an attempted robbery.

P.K. testified at the time that she had been in her bedroom with her granddaughter when, in the middle of the night, she awoke to three men in her apartment, attempting to steal a television which they dropped when they saw her. She told police that the men had escaped with jewelry and a radio, and although police found no fingerprints and no sign of forced entry, Warren was arrested a week later.

At trial, new information came to light that on the night Warren was arrested, P.K. had told a security guard that Warren had stolen her car. Another security guard for the complex testified that P.K. had offered him money and a promotion if he perjured himself to testify against Warren.

Warren’s alibi was also solid. Not only did his family all testify that he was asleep at home that night, the security company that employed him as a security guard testified that guards did not have keys to apartments. This meant that had he entered her apartment, there would have been a sign of forced entry.

Regardless, based solely on P.K.’s testimony, the jury found him guilty of the crime and the judge sentenced him to 1.5 to 4.5 years.

Then, in 2015, the CRU accepted Warren’s petition and interviewed P.K. about the trial.

At first, she said that she did not remember being robbed but only remembered that Warren had stolen her car. After further questioning, she admitted that she had fabricated the burglary charges because she believed Warren had stolen her car.

The CRU vacated Warren’s convictions, along with 11 other of the 25 total exonerated defendants, due to “Significant Witness Credibility issues” — specifically the recantation of P.K.’s testimony, in addition to the non-existence of evidence and that there was no forced entry or keys so Warren could enter the apartment.

As for P.K.’s car being stolen? According to her family, a relative had borrowed it without her knowledge, returning it soon after. Thanks to the full recantation, the CRU vacated Warren’s conviction.
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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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