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Retired Detective Refuses To Comment As DA Probes His Cases

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A retired New York City police detective continued to refuse to comment Monday about a review of cases associated with him by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office.

As CBS 2's John Slattery reported, the review of cases handled by retired Det. Louis Scarcella began after a high-profile 1990 murder case he investigated was thrown out. The defendant in the case had been convicted and served 23 years in prison.

Outside his Staten Island home, Scarcella declined to comment to CBS 2 for the second day.

"I have no comment," he said.

Scarcella, 61, who retired in 1999, appeared on the Dr. Phil show in 2007. The issue was the psychology of false confessions.

"Are there rule when it comes to homicide?" Dr. Phil asked.

"No, there are no rules," Scarcella replied. "I will do whatever I have to, within the law, to get a confession."

In March, one of Scarcella's targets, David Ranta, was freed after spending 23 years in prison in the killing of Brooklyn Rabbi Chaskel Werzberger. The conviction was vacated.

The defense blamed detectives with fabricating evidence and coaching witnesses. In March, Scarcella spoke out.

"I stand by the confession. I stand by the case," Scarcella said. He denied coaching witnesses.

The very day after he was released, Ranta suffered a massive heart attack. The office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes confirmed it's looking into approximately 50 of Scarcella's cases, over which he seemed a bit rattled.

"Could you get off my property, please?" Scarcella said as CBS 2 tried to ask him questions Monday.

Now the DA is looking into questionable convictions beyond the case of David Ranta.

"My office has known about Louis Scarcella, his partner, and their chain of command for some time, so this revelation comes as no surprise to us. We have been investigating several wrongful convictions that were the result of his police work," said Pierre Sussman, Ranta's lawyer.

The question is over prosecutorial misconduct, which cases Scarcella handled, and whether there are any other cases of wrongful convictions.

The attorney for Ranta, who had an operation following his heart attack in March, was supposed to have another procedure last week. It had to be postponed because Ranta has no health insurance, according to his lawyer.

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