NYC man imprisoned for 16 years freed

June 9, 2010 3:30:46 PM PDT
A New York City man imprisoned for 16 years has been released after a federal judge threw out the conviction and barred prosecutors from retrying him.

Jabbar Collins said Wednesday outside his mother's home in Queens.

The lead prosecutor faced misconduct claims Michael Vecchione has denied any wrongdoing.

Jabbar Collins came home in style in a dark limo. His whole family was there. Six brothers, 2 sisters and 3 children welcoming back Collins, who spent 16 years in prison for a murder he says he didn't commit.

"I'm disgusted to be honest, but today is about rejoicing. I had 16 years of misery, but I don't even wanna think about that right now," he said outside his mother's home.

Collins was serving 34 years to life in prison for the murder of Williamsburg Rabbi Abraham Pollack, who was shot at least 6 times after collecting rent at his apartment building back in 1994.

Collins' release comes after a ruling on Tuesday from Federal Judge Dora Irizarry who called the prosecutor's handling of the case "shameful."

At issue, accusations of misconduct against lead prosecutor Michael Vecchione. Accusations that he failed to disclose key information to the defense during the trial. He's a well-known attorney who has worked in District Attorney Charles Hynes' office in Brooklyn for years.

The Brooklyn District Attorney did not personally comment on Collins' case, but in court prosecutors denied any misconduct. Instead, they said "to retry the defendant is no longer a viable option... We can no longer secure against him a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt."

In agreeing to have Collins freed, the DA's office avoided testifying at a hearing on the misconduct allegations.

As for Collins and his family? It's now about the future he thought he'd never have, and whatever his new-found freedom might bring.

He said that he wants to go to law school to help people who don't have legal representation. He says he spent nearly 18 hours a day working on his own case.