Saturday, July 25, 2015

NY: Wrongful-conviction suit can’t be tossed because of man’s death: judge

Court allows suit to proceed for man wrongfully convicted in murder case

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was dead wrong when he tried to get a wrongful-conviction lawsuit tossed out on grounds that the exonerated man hadn’t signed it — because the man died just before the suit was filed, a state judge ruled.

William Lopez did 23 years behind bars for murder, but was released in 2013 when his conviction was overturned.

His widow, Alice Lopez, pressed on with a $23.5 million wrongful-conviction lawsuit against the state, but the AG’s Office moved to dismiss it because William ­Lopez didn’t sign it. The suit was filed a month after he died in September 2014.

“I think that’s ridiculous. How’s he going to sign it if he’s not alive? It’s crazy,” ­Alice Lopez told The Post.

“Because the claim was verified by Alice Lopez, and not William Lopez, it must be dismissed,” an assistant ­attorney general had argued.

But state Court of Claims Judge O. Peter Sherwood denied the motion, writing, “The Legislature recognized the issues created by the passage of time, including even the death of the wrongfully convicted.”

Original report here

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