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Wrongful Conviction Leads To Wrongful Death Settlement

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A man who spent 25 years in prison only to have his conviction vacated on appeal won a wrongful death lawsuit against the State of Pennsylvania. The wrongfully-convicted inmate has suffered a heart-attack while in prison and was in his 60s when released. He was only free for a short period of time when he suffered a stroke and died. The stroke was directly related to the heart attack he suffered while in prison.

While lawsuits against prisons and the criminal justice system at large are quite popular nowadays, this is a unique case insofar as the allegations go. The state stood accused of causing an inmate’s heart attack by falsely imprisoning him with substandard health services and food for decades. In most cases, an inmate who suffered a heart attack would not be able to sue anyone unless the prison failed to render the proper medical services. In this case, since the sentence itself was false, and the plaintiff was able to establish misconduct, it rendered the government liable for the heart attack and the decreased quality of life.

In a manner of speaking, the government did cost the man his life. However, wrongful death allegations are not poetic or metaphorical. They are quite literal.

Law enforcement misconduct 

In this case, there were allegations of misconduct at every phase of the criminal process. That includes from the moment evidence was collected throughout the numerous appeals that were denied. Eventually, a judge took a look at the case and decided to vacate the sentence.

However, much of this case came down to a fingerprint that was left over a showerhead. A prosecution expert testified the perpetrator used the shower to spray off the victim before stabbing her. The fingerprint belonged to the defendant. A defense witness concurred with the prosecutor’s expert. It would turn out the fingerprint did not belong to the defendant. Further, all DNA evidence was destroyed. A prosecution witness testified that blood spatter belonged to the defendant despite not having the capacity to test the DNA.

Twenty years later, a renowned fingerprint expert testified that the fingerprint did not belong to the defendant and that there was no way to date the fingerprint as the prosecution had claimed. The defense also hired a fingerprint analyst who had no credentials to provide testimony. Nor did they apparently know what he would say prior to placing him on the stand. Throughout the process, prosecutors, one who had become a judge, had the opportunity to divulge evidence that the investigation was not conducted properly. They failed, resulting in the man staying behind bars for decades until he died.

His estate was awarded $8.2 million.

We Have Experience Representing Victims of Law Enforcement Misconduct 

People should be able to trust police officers to protect and serve. Unfortunately, law enforcement misconduct remains a significant problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States. The consequences can be catastrophic—even deadly. At Green & Schafle, we have extensive experience representing victims of police misconduct and their families. We represent the victim of the August 2021 Academy Park High School police shooting in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania.

On August 27th, 2021, attendees were leaving a high school football game at Academy Park High School. An eight-year-old girl, was tragically killed when police opened fire in the crowded area. Four other people were injured in the police shooting. While the matter was initially investigated as a crossfire incident, an investigation has determined with “near certainty” that the bullet that struck and killed the girl was fired by a police officer.

As reported by NBC Philadelphia, the Delco Town Council has voted to remove three officers who were involved in the deadly shooting. The three officers in question are facing manslaughter charges as well. Our firm is tireless in advocating for the rights of victims and their families. Attorney Michael Schafle, who represents the shooting victim, expressed gratitude for the “care and professionalism” shown by the District Attorneys’ Office in working to hold the law enforcement officers and the department accountable.

 Talk to a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer Today 

Green & Schafle file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of grieving families who have lost loved ones to negligence. Call our Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.

Sources:

law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=5007

nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/sharon-hill-council-votes-to-fire-3-officers-charged-in-girls-shooting-death/3113907/

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