Retired Brooklyn Detective's Cases Under Review for Foul Play

Retired Detective Louis Scarcella investigated by Brooklyn District Attorney for tactics used in collecting witness testimony.

Print Email

Louis Scarcella was a star detective in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The detective had all the characteristics of the one foul mouthed flashy officer in all those buddy cop movies that were popular at the time. During interrogations he smacked his hands down on tables, insulted suspects, and defense attorneys thought he was hilarious.

All the success from his days on the force is now under question though. He was the lead investigator in 175 arrests and played a smaller role in 175 more. Now more than 50 of Scarcella’s cases are under review by the Brooklyn District Attorney.

Detective Scarcella came under fire in March after one of the rulings of his cases involving the murder of a rabbi was overturned. David Ranta was set free from prison after 23 years when prosecutors saw Scarcella didn’t go after a better suited suspect. In the case Scarcella allowed a witness to choose the lineup and he also let violent criminals leave prison to smoke crack and get prostitutes if they incriminated Ranta in return.

Scarcella allegedly used the same prostitutes and addicts as witnesses to help solve his cases on multiple occasions. A lot of the questionable witnesses claim to have never made any confessions. Charles J. Hynes of the Brooklyn DA is going to investigate case by case the tactics Scarcella used in collecting evidence and witness testimonies. If Hynes’ office finds the detective didn't act in a just manner, the rulings of these cases would be overturned and anybody put away by the Scarcella will be set free.

Theresa Gomez was one of his go-to witnesses. The Trinidadian born crack addict, who was killed in a hit-and-run, testified to more than six different murder cases. In one case Gomez claimed to have watched a man get smothered as she looked on through a closet keyhole. 

Scarcella worked on cases even after his retirement. When a teacher in Cobble Hill high school accused young assistant principal Theresa Capra of fixing test scores, Scarcella was assigned to the case by the Office of Special Investigations. He used the same intimidation tactics on Capra as he did while he was a detective. He slammed his hand on tables and insulted the 30-year-old principal.

Richard J. Condon, the Special Commissioner of Investigations for New York City schools, reviewed the case and Scarcella’s investigation. Condon’s own investigation showed Scarcella didn’t produce a credible witness and the teacher accusing Capra was acting in retaliation to negative reviews which were endangering his job. 

Capra quit a month in to Scarcella's investigation. She found a job with a Long Island school but was forced to leave again when the school's administration found out she was involved in the alleged cheating scandal.