How much is your life worth? That’s the question that New York City judges and juries will try to answer if a new case goes to trial. Jonathan Fleming, 52, believes that his life is worth $162 million and has filed a notice of claim to sue New York City after he was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. While it is impossible to give him his life back, his lawyers are making a good attempt at rectifying a horrible injustice that was done to him.
The year was 1989 and Jonathan Fleming was visiting Disney World with his family in Florida. At the same time in Brooklyn, someone shot and killed Darryl Rush in the Williamsburg neighborhood, over a dispute about money. An eyewitness said that she recognized Fleming, but he maintained his alibi that he was in the Magical Kingdom at the time of the murder. He also maintained that the receipt for paid Florida phone calls was in his pocket at the time of his arrest, but police officials denied that this receipt existed.
His lawyers and the Brooklyn district attorney’s Conviction Review Unit determined that the only evidence against him was the eyewitness account. Yet the eyewitness later recanted her statement and said that she was coerced—yet Fleming was still behind bars. When the Correction Review Unit investigated further, they uncovered the receipts for the phone calls Fleming made in police records, time stamped and dated. This provided the necessary proof that he was in Florida at the time of the murders—yet that information was inexplicably and purposefully withheld.
After spending nearly 25 years behind bars, Fleming was released with only $100 to his name and no home—and no job. He has struggled, both in prison and out and seeks compensation for the loss of those wages, companionship, and emotional pain. He has lost time with his family that he will never get back. Can you put a value on that time? New York City will have to.
Don’t Become a Statistic
Every year, men and women are wrongfully accused of crimes they didn’t commit. Without an aggressive defense attorney on their side, they can be wrongfully convicted and forced to pay the consequences for someone else’s actions. In fact, up to 4% of all death row prisoners are actually innocent.
A new study, based on a survey of judges, prosecuting attorneys, public defenders, sheriffs, and police chiefs has uncovered that about 10,000 people are wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in the United States each year—largely due to eyewitness misidentification. In fact, eyewitness identification was responsible for 52.3% of those wrongful convictions.
Another key component to wrongful conviction is witness perjury. Eyewitnesses can be bribed or intimidated into lying under oath or they can do so to harm the individual personally. Witnesses lying under oath were the reason for 11% of the wrongful convictions.
Other reasons include police officer or public prosecutor misconduct or unethical behavior. Corruption in police departments coupled with public pressure to solve a case has led many law enforcement officials and D.A.s to withhold evidence or commit perjury.
A Criminal Defense Lawyer on Your Side
When someone you love is arrested for a crime they did not commit, it is imperative that they retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer immediately. An attorney can ensure that their rights are protected, that they are not forced to incriminate themselves, and that all evidence is preserved that could exonerate them.
If you are wrongfully convicted of a crime, your attorney will need to work even more diligently to uncover the evidence needed to have your case reviewed or appealed. This may mean interviewing new eyewitnesses or uncovering corruption.
When you have been charged with a crime you didn’t commit, it is difficult to know where to turn. Denver criminal defense attorney Steven Louth has successfully represented accused individuals in Denver and throughout Colorado. He understands that your future and your freedom are at stake, and as such; he is always ready to fight the tough fight.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime in Denver, Boulder, or anywhere in Colorado, call Steven Louth Law Offices at 303-442-2297 today for a free case evaluation. No matter how serious the charges are against you, there are ways to fight them. Call today!