Bronx DA to Review Casework of Detective Accused in Frame-ups

By Kevin Deutsch

The Bronx District Attorney’s Office will investigate the local casework of NYPD Detective Joseph Franco, who is accused of framing at least three defendants on drug charges in Manhattan, Bronx Justice News has learned.

Franco, 46, was charged Wednesday following his indictment on 16 criminal counts of official misconduct, perjury, and offering a false instrument for filing. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Manhattan, and was released without bail.

“After the case plays out in court, and there is a finding by the court or a guilty plea, we will use our resources in the Public Integrity Bureau and Conviction Integrity Unit to conduct a review of his Bronx cases,” Patrice O’Shaughnessy, Director of Communications for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, told Bronx Justice News.

Word of the review comes a day after the Legal Aid Society called on Bronx DA Darcel Clark to review all cases her office prosecuted involving Franco, a 19-year department veteran who worked in the Bronx from 2001 to 2003, and made numerous arrests.

Franco is currently suspended from the police department without pay, authorities said. His most recent assignment was with the Manhattan South Narcotics Division.

The crimes with which Franco is currently charged stem from three investigations in which he allegedly made up details about seeing people sell drugs—only to have his lies exposed by video evidence and witness statements, Manhattan prosecutors said.

The three people Franco is known to have framed were convicted, and two of them served prison time, prosecutors have said. All three of their convictions have been vacated as a result of the false testimony given against them.

“Our N.Y.P.D. officers swear an oath to uphold the law, and meet the highest ethical standards,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in a recent statement. “Should an officer fail to meet those critical expectations, they must be held accountable.”

Franco could not immediately be reached for comment.

About Kevin Deutsch 236 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, drugs, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Post, among other publications. His numerous television appearances include spots on CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN's BookTV. He has also been featured in The New Yorker. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.