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Second chance: Mentally disabled Brooklyn man’s 2012 rape conviction dismissed following review by DA’s office

Clean record: Livingston Broomes, right, with his attorney Lisa Napoli, left.
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A Kings County Supreme Court justice dismissed a Brooklyn man’s 2012 conviction for raping a then 32-year-old mentally disabled woman on Thursday, after a review conducted by District Attorney Eric Gonzalez’s office discovered the defendant also suffered severe mental handicaps.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Hale, who heads Gonzalez’s conviction review unit, moved to vacate the second-degree rape conviction against Livingston Broomes, 70, in Kings County Supreme Court on May 23, saying the defendant’s attorney failed to bring to light his client’s mental illness, dooming him to be prosecuted as an able-minded man.

“We find it is likely that had this disability of his been known that he likely would have been successful in defending himself against this charge,” Hale told Justice Matthew D’Emic. “However, his appointed counsel made no inquiry, no investigation, no effort to determine whether this defense was viable, and, frankly, it was his only defense to the charge.”

The defendant was arrested in 2011 after the victim became pregnant and told police that Broomes, then 63 years old, had forced her to have sex with him on several occasions, and he pleaded guilty to second-degree rape — a charge relating to intercourse with a person unable to provide consent — the following year.

Broomes completed a four-year prison sentence in 2014, and would have faced post release supervision until 2024, in addition to spending the rest of his life as a registered sex offender — unable to visit his son — if the conviction review unit created under Gonzalez’s predecessor Ken Thompson hadn’t probed the case, according the attorney who represented Broomes in his appeal.

“For the past few years Mr. Broomes’ life has been torn apart,” said lawyer Lisa Napoli. “His family was torn apart, he was separated from his child, who he wasn’t allowed to have contact with, and he served time in prison. Today the conviction review unit took a case that was difficult to take on their part, and they righted a wrong that was done all those years ago.”

In the district attorney’s review, investigators discovered that the Barbados-born defendant was involved in a motorcycle accident as a teen, which resulted in severe head trauma and left him in a coma for six months.

Relatives told investigators that Broomes was “slow,” and he was diagnosed with dementia a few weeks after his arrest — a fact his attorney never considered when strategizing a defense, according to Hale, who said that not only was the defendant likely unable to comprehend his rights, he was also incapable of understanding the issue of consent, or the victim’s inability to provide it.

Investigations by the district attorney’s review unit have resulted in 26 convictions being vacated, while upholding 80 convictions. There are 80 additional cases pending review.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 2:25 pm, May 24, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Patty Waggin from DoBro says:
He’s not that slow if he knew how to get a woman pregnant! Hopefully he won’t strike again. Thanks Gonzalez!
May 23, 5:19 pm
Petunia from South Slope says:
So a man decides that a man can rape without consequences?!??!?!!!
May 23, 8:09 pm
LL says:
When his rights are protected all of our rights are protected.
May 23, 9:59 pm
Patty Waggin from DoBro says:
your right to not be molested has been threatened by releasing this convicted rapist
May 24, 5:44 am
Somebody from Somewhere says:
Welp, here comes the BIG AZZ LAWSUIT!
May 24, 8:18 am
LL says:
I'm less afraid of this guy being released than living in a court system like China. Think about it.
May 24, 10:21 am
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
So you think that a person committing bodily harm and rape on another person would be completely sane?
May 24, 5:05 pm
Mike Honcho from Marine park says:
He could run for president
May 24, 5:12 pm
Mike Honcho from Marine park says:
And WIN!
May 24, 5:13 pm
Honey from Brooklyn says:
It’s about time we started forgiving more men for rape. It’s always about the woman - what if the man is a little dumb?
May 24, 6:25 pm
Not good being a woman here either from Park Slope says:
Aren't they supposed to prove a defendant doesn't know wrong from right to claim mental illness or disability? So maybe his original attorney didn't attempt that defense because it would never stick. I'm really angry on behalf of the victim and won't vote for Gonzales again without a much better explanation than this nonsense. The rapist, it's what he is, that part wasn't disproven, did it repeatedly KNOWING she didn't know any better, he knew enough to choose his very vulnerable victim wisely! He made her pregnant. Why isn't there huge outrage over this? Nice look of superior outrage from his new defense attorney in the photo. Whatever.
May 25, 5:02 pm
M from Brooklyn says:
If his victim was unable to give consent - was she a minor? Was this 63 year old man forcing a minor to have sex until she became pregnant? I feel sorry for this woman who will now have to deal with his attempt to visit his rape child. His “disability” was not diagnosed in the over 40 years since this accident occurred. He should be taken back to court, and this supposed disability entered into evidence. A technicality, which might be based on lie, has excused his forcing a younger partner (unable of giving consent) to multiple sexual encounters and an unwanted pregnancy. This is not justice.
May 26, 9:02 am
David Weinkrantz from Downtown Brooklyn says:
When Mr. Broomes' was originally tried, what was his attorney's name? Did the reporter (Colin Mixson) attempt to contact the original attorney and request his comment? If not, why not? Will Mr. Broomes now be placed in a mental facility? If not, why not? I believe the Conviction Review Unit was created by Chrles Hynes.
May 31, 12:54 pm

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