Sunday, June 11, 2006
Tulsa to Settle Wrongful Conviction Suit
Okla. man who spent 14 years in prison for rape before DNA evidence cleared him to get $12.25M
A man who spent 14 years in prison for a rape conviction before DNA evidence exonerated him will receive $12.25 million under a settlement of his lawsuit against the city. City officials had asked a federal judge to dismiss a $14.5 million verdict a jury awarded to Arvin McGee Jr. in March, but they decided Friday to pay the lesser amount.
McGee, 44, was freed in 2002 after his conviction in the 1987 rape and kidnapping was overturned. He sued the city of Tulsa the following year, claiming his constitutional rights had been violated. "Like I told everybody from the get-go, this has never been about money," McGee said after the settlement was announced. "I'm glad we could get it hashed out. I hope the jury doesn't take it as a blow that we took less than what the verdict was." Under the settlement, McGee will receive $6.125 million within 60 days and another $6.125 million by June 1, 2007. It still must be approved by a judge.
Deputy Mayor Tom Baker said the agreement shows the city's "concern for Mr. McGee and what he's been through."
His lawsuit claimed a Tulsa police officer acted with "deliberate indifference" toward McGee's constitutional rights when using a five-man photo lineup from which the victim identified McGee as her attacker. DNA testing later linked another man to the crime, but by that time, the seven-year statute of limitations that existed at the time of the crime had expired.
And so the REAL guilty party escaped justice
In 1987, a twenty-year-old woman was attacked in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, laundry where she worked. The victim was tied up and locked in the restroom. The attacker returned, carried her over his shoulders to a car, drove to a secluded area, and raped her. In 1989, after three trials, Arvin Carsell McGee was convicted of this brutal crime and sentenced to 365 years in prison.
McGee's conviction rested largely on the victim's identification. McGee was identified from a photographic array four months after the crime occurred. She had initially picked out another man in another photographic lineup. Prosecutors also relied on serological testing of semen collected from the victim, which could not exclude McGee as a possible contributor.
McGee continued to maintain his innocence. At the time of the crime, he was suffering from an injury requiring surgery, rendering him physically unable to carry out the crime. His defense attorneys also pointed out the inconsistencies in the victim's description of her attacker, which changed several times. McGee's first trial was a mistrial, the second ended in a hung jury. After the third trial, he was convicted of rape, kidnaping, forcible sodomy, and robbery. His sentence was later reduced to 298 years.
More than thirteen years later, his case was taken on by the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System. They arranged for DNA testing of the semen evidence. The results revealed that McGee was excluded as a contributor of the spermatozoa and, therefore, could not have been the perpetrator. A second round of testing ordered by Tulsa County prosecutors yielded the same results. Arvin McGee was exonerated and freed from prison in February 2002. He had spent 14 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.
In September 2002, Oklahoma authorities revealed that the DNA profile from the spermatozoa evidence matched the profile of Edward Alberty, a prisoner in Oklahoma. Alberty has since been charged with first degree rape and forcible sodomy.
(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)
Posted by bussorah at 4:34 PM