Monday, January 11, 2016

New York City Settles Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit:  Man who spent nearly 17 years in prison to receive $3.75 million after murder conviction overturned

New York City will pay $3.75 million to a man who spent nearly 17 years in prison before his murder conviction was overturned, the city comptroller’s office said Friday.

Roger Logan, now 54 years old, was arrested in 1997 and convicted in 1999 for the shooting death of Sherwin Gibbons in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

In 2014, Mr. Logan was exonerated and released after a review by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office found that testimony in the trial had been false and that evidence had been unlawfully withheld.

That year, Mr. Logan filed a notice of claim with the city seeking $150 million, records show. Mr. Logan’s case is the latest to be settled by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer, the city’s chief financial officer, who has sought to resolve such claims before they go to court.

Mr. Stringer’s office has settled eight pre-litigation claims for wrongful death or conviction—for a total of $41.55 million—since 2014.

“While it is impossible to put a price on the time Mr. Logan spent in prison, this settlement reflects the city’s and Mr. Logan’s desire to bring this matter to a close,” Mr. Stringer said in a statement.

Last year, Mr. Logan settled a separate claim against New York state for $2.975 million, his lawyer, Harold C. Baker, said.

“The whole case was a horror show for him and his family,” Mr. Baker said, adding that he was happy with the result of the negotiations with the city. Mr. Logan was “absolutely ecstatic” to hear of the settlement, Mr. Baker said.

Mr. Logan’s wife still has an outstanding notice of claim against the city seeking $100 million in connection with her husband’s conviction and incarceration, Mr. Baker said.

In his pre-litigation filing against the city, Mr. Logan said he was threatened by detectives who forced him to sign a statement and later framed him for the murder.

While in prison in 2013, Mr. Logan, wrote to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office asking that his case be reviewed.

Mr. Logan’s conviction was one of more than 70 cases that Brooklyn prosecutors flagged for review that involved former New York Police Department Detective Louis Scarcella.

Mr. Scarcella has been accused by inmates and their lawyers of coercing confessions through threats and obtaining witness statements that were later discredited. Mr. Scarcella, who has retired, has previously denied wrongdoing and hasn’t been charged with any crimes.

The Brooklyn prosecutor’s office has reviewed 35 cases involving Mr. Scarcella and has so far overturned six convictions, but hasn’t found any intentional wrongdoing by the former detective, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office said.

Since Kenneth Thompson became Brooklyn district attorney in 2014, his office’s conviction review unit has overturned 17 convictions.

“No amount of money can undo the 17 years Roger Logan spent in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, but I hope the award he received will help Mr. Logan and his family rebuild their lives,” Mr. Thompson said.

Original report here

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