Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Judge Reduces Man’s Wrongful Conviction Award to $12 Million
A judge who had previously thrown out a jury’s award to a New York City man who was wrongly convicted of rape and imprisoned for over 20 years ruled on Friday that the judgment should be reduced by more than $6 million.
A jury in 2010 awarded $18.5 million to Alan Newton, who was found guilty in 1985 of rape, robbery and assault in a case built largely on eyewitness testimony. He was cleared by DNA evidence and released from prison in 2006.
On Friday, United States District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin reduced the award to $12 million, after comparing amounts awarded others who had been wrongfully convicted.
In her ruling, she wrote that Mr. Newton must accept the reduced amount or a new trial would have to be held.
“Wrongful convictions are a serious and intolerable aspect of the criminal justice system,” she wrote. “However, in this instance, the principles of justice require a reduction of the damages that were awarded.”
In a ruling in 2011, Judge Scheindlin set aside the judgment after the city appealed. She found that Mr. Newton had not proved that city employees “withheld evidence in deliberate contravention or disregard of his right to due process.”
Mr. Newton took his case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which vacated Judge Scheindlin’s earlier ruling and sent the case back to her.
Arthur Larkin, a lawyer with the city’s Law Department, said the most recent decisionwas appropriate. “In this tragic case in which mistakes were made in the storage, management and tracking of evidence,” he said in a statement, “the judge agreed that the damages awarded were excessive based on similar cases.”
But John F. Schutty, a lawyer for Mr. Newton, contended that Judge Scheindlin “ignored what the Second Circuit told her to do.” Mr. Newton is considering another appeal.
“It’s shocking to us,” Mr. Schutty said of the ruling. “We’re considering all of our options right now.
Original report here
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Posted by bussorah at 9:14 PM