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$18.5 Million To Man Exonerated After 20 Years In Prison

$18.5 Million To Man Exonerated After 20 Years In Prison

A New York jury has awarded $18.5 million to a man who was wrongfully convicted of a rape charge in 1985 and spent 20 years in prison, reports The New York Times.

Alan Newton, a Bronx resident, was convicted of rape, robbery and assault in 1985, based largely on eyewitness testimony, and subsequently spent years trying to get DNA evidence from the case located.

Police Took 20 Years To Find Rape Kit

However, it was not until 2005 that a rape kit from the case was found in a Police Department warehouse. Subsequent testing showed that DNA collected from the victim did not match.

Mr. Newton was released from prison in July 2006, and on October 19, over four years later, a federal jury in Manhattan ruled that the city had violated his constitutional rights. It also found two police officers had failed to produce Newton’s evidence when requested.

New York City Lawyer “Disappointed”

A spokesman for the city’s law department said the city was “disappointed” with the verdict and plans to appeal.

Disappointed? Let’s consider how “disappointed” Alan Newton must have felt when he was first wrongfully convicted, and subsequently spent twenty years in prison.

Alan Newton – What A Hero!

But also let’s consider what amazing resilence and courage this man has shown, refusing to give up. “I’ve had a lot of patience in my life,” he said. “I’ve learned not to rush anything. Good things take time. This decision took time, but it was worth every moment.”

Mr. Newton’s fight to reclaim his life and his dignity was supported by the Innocence Project, a nonprofit group that seeks to free convicts through DNA evidence. So far, the Project has exonerated 260 prisoners, but who knows how many more there are?

According to The New York Times, the Innocence Project “said that of about 50 people from New York City it had represented in the last five years, half had received the DNA evidence in their cases from the city. In the other cases, the city was unable to produce the evidence or explain what had happened to it.’

Is this incompetence or deliberate negligence? Whichever it is, it needs to stop.

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50 comments

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7:24AM PDT on Apr 22, 2011

He spent 20 years in prison with a reputation as a rapist. It's not a good settlement, but far from a bad one... Jeeez remind me not to go to NYC...

6:22AM PST on Feb 9, 2011

Alicia N.: How would feel if you were being robbed of 20 years of your life and compensated with some money and not even an excuse from the legal representatives that denied you your freedoom?

8:41PM PDT on Nov 5, 2010

To Alan Newton : I am very sorry for what has happened to you but at least you won't have to worry about money. Glad to hear that you were able to walk out of prison and star a new life. GOD bless you man, always!!!

3:43PM PDT on Oct 28, 2010

How can this idiot lawyer appeal this? The judicial system screwed up big time. Accept it fool.

1:11AM PDT on Oct 26, 2010

Not sure whether there is any judicial, prosecutorial and police misconduct. But the settlement is sufficient, Despite having said that this man has already missed so many years in his life and it takes a lot to take back and a lot of acclimatisation.

1:29PM PDT on Oct 25, 2010

At least part of the money in the judgment should be garnished from the pay of the judge, lawyers and policement who caused/allowed the miscarriage of justice to happen....

6:17PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

It's a punishment to the New York legal system. Unfortunately, it's the taxpayers who will end up paying for it. This punishment will not work unless and until the punishment actually gets to the people who committed the intentional errors, like not producing the DNA, and the idiot prosecutor who had such faith in eye witness testimony, which we have all know for decades is so unreliable! This man lost 20 years of his life, wrongly convicted, living in a very dangerous and terrible place (a prison), while the cops who did this and the DA all went on about their lives!

12:14PM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

How sad. I hope he can at least live in the moment & enjoy what he has now.

8:38AM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

I hope he is now able to enjoy life, at least free from money worries.

7:15AM PDT on Oct 24, 2010

Well of course the city laywer would be disappointed, now they finally have to get their act straightened out!
Alan Newton - stay strong and enjoy your freedom at last!

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