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Wrongful Convictions Can Lead to Civil Suits

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A man who spent 14 years in prison before having his conviction overturned has sued New York City for false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. A judge overturned the conviction for murder after determining that there was “powerful ” evidence that someone else committed the crime. The suit has shed light on other cases where the prosecution may well have ignored critical evidence establishing the innocence of the accused.

Lawsuits for malicious prosecution and other similar type offenses have been more frequent with the developement of scientific evidence such as DNA testing. Such evidence has exonerated well over 150 individuals who spent much of thier lives-as it turns out-wrongfully convicted. In his most recent book, The Innocent Man, author John Grisham tells the true story about one man who was convicted of murder, sentenced to death and was only five days away from being executed. Fortuneately, just before his execution the federal courts became involved and a stay of execution was ordered and ultimately full exoneration was ordered after DNA testing established that the police and prosecutors had the wrong person. Once released from prison, after spending 12 years in a maximum security cell, a civil suit was filed and ultimately settled for a confidential amount well into the millions of dollars.