This is interesting……………An important and potentially powerful quote from the story:
“State courts have ruled the wrongfully convicted can sue in both courts because they are suing for different reasons: In federal court for civil rights violations, and in state court for the economic and emotional devastation caused by incarceration.”
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EXCLUSIVE: Central Park Five seek an additional $52 million after reaching $41 million settlement for wrongful imprisonment in 1989 rape of jogger
The five men who were wrongfully jailed for the 1986 rape of a Central Park jogger are pursuing $52 million in damages from the state in the Court of Claims after winning a landmark $41 million settlement from the city. Myron Beldock, attorney for four of the five men, dismissed any notion that the group had already pocketed enough taxpayer money.
After winning a landmark $41 million settlement from the city, the Central Park Five are looking to make New York State pay even more for their time behind bars, the Daily News has learned.
The quintet, wrongfully jailed for years in the 1989 rape and assault of a jogger, are now pursuing $52 million in damages from the state in the Court of Claims.
Their individual claims were reactivated after the deal with the city was approved in Manhattan Federal Court in September.
Defendant Raymond Santana, who spent nearly seven years in prison, said the second round of suits was warranted.
“When you have a person who has been exonerated of a crime, the city provides no services to transition him back to society,” Santana told The News. “The only thing left is something like this — so you can receive some type of money so you can survive.”
Criminal charges against Santana, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam and Korey Wise were dropped in 2002 after career criminal Matias Reyes confessed to the crime — and insisted that he acted alone.
Reyes’ DNA was recovered from the savagely-beaten jogger but never identified until he confessed. The CP5 spent between six and 13 years in prison, with Wise serving the longest.
All were just teenagers when convicted.
“At the end of the day there was an injustice that occurred, and we want to right these wrongs — and that’s at all levels, federal or state,” Santana said.
Myron Beldock, attorney for four of the five men, dismissed any notion that the group had already pocketed enough taxpayer money.
“It’s not a double dip,” he said. “Although our clients got substantial payments, we don’t think it was sufficient for their lawsuits. How much is a year in jail worth in a child’s life?”
State courts have ruled the wrongfully convicted can sue in both courts because they are suing for different reasons: In federal court for civil rights violations, and in state court for the economic and emotional devastation caused by incarceration.
Matt Mittenthal, a spokesman for State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, signaled that his boss — like Mayor de Blasio — was inclined to settle.
“Attorney General Schneiderman is committed to protecting the rights of the wrongfully convicted, and to helping individuals obtain justice and put their lives back together again,” Mittenthal said.
“We expect to meet with attorneys for the five men, and look forward to discussing a potential settlement to resolve their claims.”
When the Court of Claims cases were filed in 2004, then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer opposed the suit.
The future love gov noted in part that the law does not allow for compensation for people whose confessions helped lead to their convictions — as happened in the jogger case.
Schneiderman proposed changing the law to allow such claims earlier this year, but no action was taken on his proposal.
A source close to the case, as well as lawyers familiar with such claims, say the likely state settlement will be significantly less than the cash they received from the city.
Attorney Irving Cohen, who estimated he’s handled more Court of Claims cases for wrongful convictions than any other lawyer in the state, said Claims judges have a rule of thumb for emotional damages: $150,000 to $200,000 for each year incarcerated.
But attorney Joel Rudin said the federal settlement in the case against the city will likely weigh heavily on Judge Alan Marin, who would rule in the case. Juries are not used in the Court of Claims.
“It seems to me they have an uphill battle to show the money they’d receive does not offset what they already got,” Rudin said.
The five’s federal case took nine years to settle because city lawyers under then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg felt they would win the federal case. The new claims also could take time to resolve.
An October letter to Marin from Beldock notes that there are over 200,000 pages of records and over 95 depositions in the federal case, which must be handed over to Schneiderman’s office. Much of that material is covered by confidentiality agreements.
Beldock said that before the state gets the material, the parties have to finish litigating a request in federal court for its public release.
The first hearing in the state case is Wednesday, where both sides are expected to discuss a timeline for turning over the material.
Santana said that he hoped Schneiderman would be as sympathetic to the five’s plight as de Blasio, who pledged during his campaign to settle the federal case.
Ultimately, no dollar figure could ever properly compensate the Central Park Five, Santana said.
“Will it ever be enough?” he asked. “Not for what we lost.”