Clear and Convincing Evidence Establishes That Prosecutors Presented a False and Impossible Theory of Porco’s Guilt; Motion Requests Conviction be Re-Examined and Vacated, or that the Court Order an Evidentiary Hearing
New York—January 12, 2023 – Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP, a boutique criminal defense and civil rights firm with offices in New York City and on Long Island, today announced that after an extensive post-conviction case review, they have filed a 440 Motion to vacate the conviction of Christopher Porco.
In August 2006, Mr. Porco was convicted of the November 15, 2004 murder of his father and the attempted murder of his mother. In December 2006, he was sentenced to an indeterminate term of 50 years to life in prison.
The 440 Motion, brought after years of investigation, identifies new facts and legal issues that were not available to the defense at the time of the trial and appeal, and outlines several grounds that warrant vacatur of Mr. Porco’s conviction, or, at minimum, an evidentiary hearing, including clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Porco did not attack his parents, that police and prosecutors deliberately suppressed material evidence and violated Mr. Porco’s due process rights, that Mr. Porco was denied his right to the effective assistance of counsel at trial, and that the Court permitted an unqualified juror to deliberate.
“After an extensive post-conviction review of Mr. Porco’s case, we now have evidence, and are convinced, that this crime did not occur the way that prosecutors theorized, and that the timeline they presented to the jury was impossible and demonstrably false,” Danielle Muscatello, attorney with Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP, said. “We are, therefore, asking the Court to vacate the conviction or allow us to present new evidence in Mr. Porco’s defense, including ordering DNA testing that should have been performed before the trial and could have supported Mr. Porco’s innocence years ago.”
“Our application presents multiple issues for consideration, including the fact that the prosecution deliberately suppressed evidence, oversaw a massive, year-long investigation that was biased against Mr. Porco from its inception, and, as a result, denied Mr. Porco a fair trial,” Ms. Muscatello continued. “Further, and most importantly, Mr. Porco has always maintained his innocence, and there is now clear and convincing evidence that he did not commit this unimaginable crime.”
Joan Porco, too, Christopher’s mother, has remained steadfast in her commitment to her son’s innocence.
“From the moment I woke up 18 years ago and could comprehend what had happened to my husband Peter and me, I know without reservation that my son Christopher was incapable of committing such a vicious act. It was agonizing for me during my recovery to see him indicted, tried, convicted, and sentenced after a trial in which I believe truth-seeking was never a focus of the parties involved. Ten years ago, Christopher and I were blessed to have formed a relationship with an attorney, Danielle Muscatello, who, along with her colleagues, have devoted countless hours to the relentless pursuit of fact and with singular focus on achieving justice for our family. Today that process formally begins, and with all my heart I am hopeful and confident that the Court will determine what I have always known - that Christopher is innocent.”
The 440 Motion, filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Albany County, by Danielle Muscatello and Donna Aldea, Esqs., of Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP, requests that the Court vacate Mr. Porco’s December 12, 2006, judgment of conviction, or, in the alternative, direct that an evidentiary hearing be held, and also seeks mitochondrial DNA testing of an item of evidence collected from the Porco home in an effort to fully and fairly investigate these claims and determine whether an Order vacating this wrongful conviction must follow.
“Mr. Porco was widely vilified by the media almost immediately after his parents’ attack and then after his conviction, adding to the anguish he already experienced after having lost his father, witnessing the devastating injuries suffered by his mother, and confronting the false allegation that he was the perpetrator,” Bruce Barket said. “The family will never recover. Not from this.”
“We believe that in this case, as in so many other cases, law enforcement leapt to judgment, conducted an investigation marked by confirmation bias, and, ultimately, got it wrong – putting a man behind bars for 16 years based on evidence that does not withstand scrutiny, presented at a trial that did not safeguard Mr. Porco’s constitutional rights,” Ms. Aldea said. “It’s been a very long road, but based on what we now know to be true, this conviction must be re-examined and vacated.”
Barket Epstein Kearon Aldea & LoTurco, LLP is recognized nationally as a leader in criminal defense, personal injury law, appellate, commercial litigation and civil rights issues. With more than 200 years of experience and a team of former prosecutors, public defenders, exonerees and judges, BEKAL is uniquely capable of representing clients in an array of complex legal matters. The firm has offices in Manhattan, Garden City and Huntington, New York. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @barketepstein.