Westchester District Attorney Rocah establishes office’s first conviction review unit

Editor’s note:  This press release was provided by Westchester District Attorney Miriam Rocah.

White Plains, NY — Throughout her campaign and since taking office last month, Westchester District Attorney Miriam E. Rocah has emphasized that public confidence in the integrity of government and fairness of the criminal justice system are essential to effective law enforcement and secure communities. DA Rocah today announced key staff appointments to support those goals, including the chief of the newly established Conviction Review Unit and new leadership in public corruption and law enforcement integrity.

“As promised, we are expanding and strengthening the capabilities of the DA’s Office to ensure the highest degree of integrity in our prosecutions and root out corruption and official misconduct in law enforcement and government,” Rocah said. “The people of Westchester County deserve to have a government and justice system that they can trust, and we are committed to helping make that happen.”

Conviction Review

“We are creating Westchester’s first true Conviction Review Unit, which is a major step forward for our residents,” Rocah said. “We are thrilled to bring Anastasia Heeger’s years of experience and expertise in this area to lead the historic new unit.”

Anastasia Heeger – Chief, Conviction Review Unit

Ms. Heeger was most recently a supervising attorney and director of the Reinvestigation Project for the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD). The Reinvestigation Project was established to identify potential cases of wrongful conviction and, where appropriate, file petitions for relief. OAD represents economically disadvantaged individuals convicted of felonies in Manhattan and the Bronx in the New York Supreme Court, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, First Judicial Department, the New York State Court of Appeals, and the federal courts.

Prior to joining OAD in 2007, she was a law clerk for Judge Theodore H. Katz in the Southern District of New York and before beginning her legal career, she spent a decade as a journalist at ABC News and the Associated Press.

She is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School. She received a M.A. in Education Policy from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in journalism from George Washington University.

Public Corruption and Law Enforcement Integrity

Rocah also announced the establishment of two new positions to oversee the areas of public corruption and law enforcement integrity. Both will be filled by prosecutors with deep experience in rooting out corruption and official misconduct.

Jennifer Sculco – Deputy Bureau Chief, Law Enforcement Integrity

Ms. Sculco will continue to lead the office’s work ensuring that our community has trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. She was most recently Acting Deputy Bureau Chief of Public Integrity in the Westchester DA’s Office, where she handled all public integrity matters including investigations of police misconduct. In this position, her work contributed to several arrests of members of law enforcement for criminal conduct in connection with their employment.

Prior to joining the Westchester DA’s Office in 2017, she was a Senior Inspector General for the New York City Department of Investigation. In that position, she supervised complex investigations of fraud, corruption and mismanagement related to city agencies, including the Department of Correction and the Board of Correction. She was also an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office.

She is a graduate of Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law and Binghamton University.

Brian P. Weinberg – Deputy Bureau Chief, Public Corruption

Mr. Weinberg will lead the office’s work on non-law enforcement public corruption and abuse of authority. He most recently served as Special Counsel to the Public Integrity Bureau of the New York State Attorney General’s Office, where he conducted long-term investigations and prosecutions focusing on government corruption, fraud, and abuse of authority by public officials.

During his time at the Attorney General’s Office, he led multiple investigations into public officials in the city of Mount Vernon. He secured a guilty plea from the city’s mayor, who admitted to stealing from his campaign committee and filing a false document with the New York State Board of Elections. He also obtained a jury conviction of the city’s corporation counsel, who had engaged in a scheme to defraud the city’s Board of Water Supply.

He began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. He worked in the Rackets Bureau, where he conducted long-term investigations into corruption by public employees, elected and appointed officials, and organized crime groups, and was also a founding member of the former Public Integrity Unit.

He is a graduate of Brooklyn Law School and Brandeis University.

Special Assistant District Attorney

Elliott Jacobson has been appointed to the unpaid position of Special Assistant District Attorney, and will work with the Public Integrity and Cold Case Units.

Mr. Jacobson spent more than three decades as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he investigated and prosecuted complex and significant white collar criminal matters including high-profile public corruption and federal income tax fraud cases, as well as homicides and other significant violent crime cases. Working in collaboration with the Westchester District Attorney’s Office, he prosecuted U.S. v. Novack, a high profile 2009 murder case involving one homicide in Westchester and a related homicide in Florida, in which the two defendants were found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Yale University.