White Lawyers Still Refusing Justice for the Central Park Five

Despite intense public pressure, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said he will not reopen the thousands of cases handled by Linda Fairstein, who was the chief of his office’s Sex Crimes Unit from 1976 and 2002 and helped to prosecute the Central Park Five.

New York City officials, including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, are calling for Vance to take a stand against both Fairstein and Elizabeth Lederer, an attorney who was directly involved in prosecuting the Central Park Five. Williams is calling for the dismissal of Lederer, who is still an Assistant District Attorney with Vance’s office.

“Justice delayed is justice denied, but here, Cy Vance is even denying justice has been delayed. It shouldn’t take another 30 years for us to find out why DA Vance refuses to correct these injustices of the past,” Williams tweeted Monday.

Williams is not the only one.

Another letter was sent by New York public defenders, with representatives from the Legal Aid Society, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem and New York County Defender Services, all calling for a reexamination of every case Fairstein and Lederer were involved in.

Even though Vance is refusing to be in charge of holding Lederer and Fairstein accountable, both women have already faced repercussions after the release of “When They See Us”, the story of five teenage boys of color who were wrongfully convicted in a Central Park jogger’s 1989 rape.

Since the release on May 31, Fairstein has had to resign from several boards she was on and her publisher dropped her. While Lederer remains a city prosecutor, she recently resigned from her teaching position at Columbia Law School after the Columbia Black Law Student’s Association had called for her resignation and launched a petition demanding she step down.


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