Man Wins $6M Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit but City Won’t Pay

Man Wins $6M Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit but City Won't Pay

( – In the opening voiceover of two extremely popular and long-running TV police procedurals viewers hear,” in the criminal justice system….” The narrator’s voice continues to explain how the police department and prosecutor’s office are supposed to work to put the guilty behind bars. However, in the case of one North Carolina man, not only did they fail, they intentionally broke the law and an innocent defendant spent 21 years in prison because of them. The courts have decided he’s entitled to compensation from the city, but he may not see any of it.

Darrell Anthony Howard was found guilty in 1995 for the murder of a woman and her 13-year-old daughter. To be honest, it’s possible any jury would have reached the same conclusion given the evidence presented against him. Therein lies the crux of the problem, you see, he didn’t commit the crimes and the so-called evidence was bogus.

The Innocence Project took up Howard’s cause in 2016 and he was cleared of all charges and released from prison. In 2021, Governor Roy Cooper (D) granted him a full pardon. His third vindication recently came when a federal jury awarded him $6 million from the city of Durham, North Carolina for his wrongful imprisonment. However, his unjust treatment continues, as the City Council, in a series of secret meetings, voted to refuse payment of the award.

In what may be one of the more convoluted excuses ever put forth by a governmental body, the city attorney said that its policy is not to pay judgments in the case where an officer was performing their duties “in good faith.” But, the jury that made the award did so after finding that the detective on the case fabricated evidence. How is that performing one’s duties in good faith?

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