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John Hooper

Other Plea Cases with Perjury or False Accusation
On July 16, 2012, New York City police officer Gregory Jean-Baptiste arrested 48-year-old John Hooper after Officer Jean-Baptiste said he saw Hooper put a garbage bag containing a handgun in a trash receptacle near the corner of 92nd street and Rutland Road in Brooklyn, New York.

Hooper denied the accusation and said Jean-Baptiste had planted the gun, but he was charged with criminal possession of a firearm all the same.

In January 2013, Hooper took a polygraph examination during which he denied possessing the firearm. The polygraph examiner said Hooper showed no signs of deception.

On May 1, 2013, a hearing was held in Kings County Supreme Court on a defense motion to suppress the gun as evidence. Officer Jean-Baptiste testified that he had received a tip from a confidential informant that Hooper had the gun and that he saw a gun-shaped object in a red bandanna that Hooper placed in the trash bin.

The prosecution did not call the informant to testify. At the conclusion of the testimony, Kings County Judge Guy Mangano said he found Jean-Baptiste’s version of events to be “incredible” and took the case under advisement.

The following day—after the defense discovered that the prosecution had failed to disclose that officer Jean-Baptiste had been involved in a hit-and-run traffic accident and had pled guilty to driving while impaired—the prosecution offered a plea bargain to Hooper with an agreed sentence of one year in prison. Judge Mangano said that since Hooper had been incarcerated since his arrest in July 2012, he would be released immediately if he pled guilty.

Hooper accepted the deal, pled guilty and was released.

In December 2014, The New York Times newspaper published an article about Hooper’s case as well as the cases of two other men—Eugene Moore and Jeffrey Herring. Their cases were remarkably similar to Hooper’s and involved officer Jean-Baptiste and other officers in the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The newspaper reported that in each case, police said a confidential informant passed on information that the suspects had a gun. About 10 minutes later, the officers found someone matching the informant’s description, a gun was found and an arrest was made. In each of the three cases, the gun was found in a bandanna or plastic bag without any fingerprints of the suspects.

Moore’s case was dismissed prior to trial by a judge who said officer Jean-Baptiste was “extremely evasive” while testifying. Jean-Baptiste’s partner, Lt. Edward Babington, who, with Jean-Baptiste, was involved in Herring’s case, had been sued in federal court for a wrongful arrest in another gun case and the city of New York settled the lawsuit for $115,000. In that case a federal judge said the “officers perjured themselves.” The prosecution ultimately dismissed Herring’s case prior to trial.

Following the publication of the article, Hooper’s attorney, Renee Seman, asked the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office to re-evaluate Hooper’s case. In addition, the news article reported that the New York City Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating the conduct of the officers involved in the cases.

On June 26, 2014, Hooper appeared before Judge Mangano. The prosecution joined in a defense motion to vacate Hooper’s conviction. Judge Mangano granted the motion and the weapon possession charge was dismissed.

In July 2015, Hooper filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Jean-Baptiste and Babington and the city of New York.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 8/3/2015
State:New York
County:Kings
Most Serious Crime:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2012
Convicted:2013
Exonerated:2015
Sentence:1 year
Race:Black
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:48
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No