It was just a few years ago that former NYPD officer Richard Diguglielmo was released from prison after serving 11 years behind bars for depraved indifference murder, a charge prosecutors can no longer use to obtain a conviction at all costs. Richie was off duty when he shot and killed a man who had attacked his father with a baseball bat and, who Richie and other witnesses believed, was about to kill his father. A tragedy certainly, a murder no! Despite the fact that he was acquitted of murder and even assault, the charges shockingly carried a life sentence.
In 2008, A New York State Supreme Court justice found him innocent and wrongfully convicted (see decision). Everyone rejoiced, he was free and innocent….then 20 months later, in 2010, the world ended for Richie, his fiance, his mother and father, sister, friends and supporters: the New York Appellate Court, in a bizarre and almost unheard of action, sent Richie back to prison to finish his life sentence.
Richie sits in prison today, wondering how the judges of the New York Court of Appeals could agree to overturn a reasoned decision of a respected judge. One who found Richie completely innocent after a three week hearing where compelling evidence was presented that witnesses had been coerced and evidence was withheld by Westchester County prosecutors, and that Richie acted without depraved indifference under any circumstances in protecting his father. How could the system send an innocent man to prison for doing what he was trained to do? How could judges be so blind, so indifferent and so wrong?
CNN will air a Richie”s story for the second time on March 3, 2012 at 8 pm, 11 pm and 2 am. The original story, broadcast in January, garnered millions of interested viewers and website visits.
Hopefully, a federal judge will review this case and set Richard free, again. Maybe the Governor of New York will hear about this story and consider the circumstances surrounding this injustice and grant Richard a pardon or at least clemency.
We can hope! But someone needs to step in and right this terrible wrong.