Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Crooked and negligent police cost all concerned heaps

Twelve men have filed for compensation under the state's wrongful conviction law: Ulysses Rodriguez Charles: Spent almost two decades in prison for rape, robbery and other charges. He was released in 2003 after new DNA evidence came to light. He is also suing the city of Boston and others in federal court.

Stephan Cowans: Convicted for the 1997 shooting of a Boston police officer and a subsequent home invasion, and spent more than six years in prison. He was released after DNA tests and a second fingerprint analysis excluded him as the perpetrator. Last month, Cowans filed suit against the city of Boston and several police officers, saying they botched the fingerprint work and then covered it up.

Lawyer Johnson: Sentenced to death in 1972 for first-degree murder and spent two years on death row until a second trial resulted in a second-degree murder conviction. He served more than 10 years in prison until a witness identified the killer as a man who had testified against Johnson at trial. He is seeking $500,000 from the state, but his attorney said too much time has elapsed to pursue any other lawsuits.

Dennis Maher: Spent almost 20 years in prison after he was convicted of raping two Lowell women and an Ayer woman in the early 1980s. He was released after a law student found long-lost evidence from the cases in a courthouse basement, and subsequent DNA testing excluded him as the rapist. The state said on Friday it was willing to pay Maher $550,000, less than the $1.5 million he sought in three separate claims.

Neil Miller: Spent a decade in prison after he was convicted of aggravated rape and robbery at a Boston apartment in 1989. He was released in 2000 after DNA testing showed the semen collected from the apartment didn't match his DNA. He is also suing the city of Boston and police department employees in federal court. Another man pleaded guilty to the crime last week.

Marvin Mitchell: Served seven years for the 1988 rape of an 11-year-old Dorchester girl, despite a semen test that failed to prove a match. He won his release in 1997 after DNA tests confirmed the semen taken from the victim did not belong to him.

Marlon Passley: Received a life sentence for killing a man and wounding two others in a 1995 shooting incident in Dorchester. He had served four years when new information about the case surfaced and helped win his release in 1999.

Louis Santos: Was convicted of the 1983 shooting death of a social worker in a Dorchester robbery. He got out of prison after three years when a higher court threw out his conviction, and a jury acquitted him in a 1990 retrial.

Eric Sarsfield: Convicted in 1987 of a Marlborough rape, spent a decade in prison. DNA tests cleared him in 2000, after he was out of prison. In addition to the $500,000 state settlement announced Friday, he also has a federal suit pending against the city of Marlborough and the officers who investigated the rape.

John Scullin: Convicted of child rape in 1996 from what his lawyer says were false allegations made in a divorce battle. He served just under two years, and the indictment was dismissed in 1998. At this time, he has no plans to file any other suits.

Peter Vaughn: Convicted for serving as the lookout in the 1983 robbery of a Boston supermarket, even though a similar crime, involving a similarly described suspect, took place soon after while Vaughn was in jail. A state appeals court ordered his release in 1986.

Eduardo Velasquez: Convicted in 1988 on aggravated rape and several other charges involving the assault of a woman in Chicopee the year before. He spent 13 years in prison until DNA tests excluded him as the attacker. The state announced a $500,000 settlement for him on Friday, and he is suing Chicopee in federal court.

Report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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