Queens Man Going Free After Five Years as a Pretrial Detainee

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Donovan Drayton is free. Sort of.

A judge Wednesday sentenced Drayton to five years behind bars—almost exactly the amount of time he spent on Rikers Island as a pretrial detainee—plus five years of supervised release. That’s effectively a sentence of time served, according to his attorney Michael Warren.

But because of the way the system works, Drayton was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs. He will be sent to a state facility for processing before being released in a couple days, Warren said after the sentencing.

So Drayton, 25, will likely spend two more days behind bars before he can begin to move past the case that’s consumed the last six years of his life.

Drayton was 19 when he was arrested Oct. 12, 2007 and accused of murder in a drug robbery that went bad. Due to the severity of the charges, a judge refused to grant bail. So he spent almost four years on Rikers Island before his first trial in 2011, when a jury acquitted him of murder, manslaughter and possessing the murder weapon. But that jury was hung on other charges, so he went back to jail pending a second trial. He spent another year and a half behind bars until his father managed to hire Warren, a top defense attorney.

Warren and his wife Evelyn, also an attorney, went to the appellate court last fall alleging that Drayton’s lengthy pretrial incarceration was unconstitutional. A four judge panel agreed and bail was set at $125,000. He got out of jail on Oct. 24, 2012.

Drayton went to trial for a second time in July. The jury acquitted him of all the remaining charges except for one count of weapon possession.

That count is a felony and could have carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. But Drayton had a clean record before the arrest and Justice James Griffin said he was impressed by the community that rallied around Drayton. Dozens of supporters— including many middle-aged artists and performers—showed up at every court hearing to support Drayton.

But the judge also said there was "more than enough evidence for you to be convicted of every crime alleged in this indictment."

He added that the prosecutor was saddled with untrustworthy witnesses. Griffin said the jury gave Drayton the benefit of the doubt as did his community of supporters.

“Don’t betray the trust that these people have placed in you,” Griffin said.

A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said prosecutors agreed with the judge's statement regarding the strength of the evidence.


More in:

Comments [4]

Rev. Jeneba Charkey from Brooklyn

Please, Robert Lewis, follow up this story and let us know how Donovan Drayton is about to begin over 120 days in solitary confinement.... I do not understand how this could happen. What are the constraints upon the ADA to prevent egregious vindictive behavior?

Sep. 24 2013 09:54 AM
Ronny Drayton from NYC

Queens Court Style

Sep. 19 2013 11:16 PM
Ronny Drayton from NYC

All I am going to say iis this.
There were no guns found.
No fingerprints found.
No DNA nothing to to tie Donovan to this crime only the the 2 witnesses.
I Anthony Wright is a CI for the Queens DAs office and has turned on a major drug mob here in Queens and given the sweetest deal ever for what he did and the lies he told the police from the start. He never told the truth and it came out as did Jason White under cross.
The ADA also knew for at least 3years Wright was selling all kinds of durgs out of his family home, that his sister had a day center ( not legal) on the same floor that he made and did hi drug deals on and where his so called friend died.
And the 3 through and through shots that came from a "High Velocity Round" came from the AK-47 he started shooting first calling himself defending his friend who he left on his front door step he shot him and he knows that he did . He locked his friend out of his house to his death not because of Donovan but because of the Man who had robbed him 6months before for 2pounds of weed. Donovan never knew that. He shot his so called friend in his frenzy but of course that wasn't addressed as it would make the ADA look real bad but he knows that we know.
The other CI Jason White was the real planner and dirver.
He was given a sweet deal of 7yrs to do what the ADA asked so he wouldn't get 18 to life
As this is what they offered Donovan 18 yrs .........He never made a deal.
So when the the real truth is up about evidence come on. if we are talking about the tap dance because of the pressure placed on them by the DAs office Homicide and others somethings had to be said a certian way because 2 juries did not believe there was real evidence or else the outcome would have been very different
Michael and Evelyn Warren tore apart a case full of inconsistencies and ADA lies and fabrication.
His groomed dogs just followed the script he taugth them.
CSI and the police did not do a proper crime scene investigation and the ADA did a shooting reconstrution 4 years later on a contaminated crime scene.The only bullet testing was done to and for their benefit they have not one bit of concrete proof that Donovan shot anyone other that a shot in the air to scare a man shooting a AK-47 at him.
The plan was to railroad this kid who has no priors of any type.
There is more that I will let out as they took 5 yrs from him in a un legal way.
The Higher Court could not understand stand this other than its Queens Corut Style.
There is a history of " Prosecutorial Misconduct " in Queens and this is the crew

Sep. 19 2013 11:11 PM
Amy Gail

"A spokesman for the District Attorney's Office said prosecutors agreed with the judge's statement regarding the strength of the evidence."
Of course they did.
Never mind that there really wasn't any evidence. If I've learned anything during the past 6 years. "Evidence" is as optional to the Queens DA office as truth, justice, reliable witnesses or the right to a speedy trial. Perjury is also acceptable as long as it's favorable to the prosecution.
Shame on ADA Clark and the system that supports him.
Donovan's case is just one of many examples of this broken system. The difference here is that we were watching. Our eyes are open and we won't stop paying attention.

Sep. 19 2013 03:21 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by