A California man has been awarded $13.1 million by the San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors for being framed for murder by the two detectives who initially investigated the incident that led to his arrest. The payment settles a civil lawsuit the man filed against the city and four police officers after being cleared of the charges that resulted in his five-year incarceration. While the board unanimously approved the settlement payment, they have not commented on the matter.
In 2018, a federal jury determined that two homicide detectives made up evidence that was used to convict the man in 2010. The jury further determined that the detectives coerced a key eyewitness. Additionally, they withheld vital information that might have exonerated the man during his first trial. The settlement is a lower amount than the $14.5 million the jury originally awarded the man and his lawyers.
The city initially appealed the nearly $15 million award. But they agreed to drop their appeal in exchange for a lower settlement amount. The man, described as an aspiring hip-hop artist and actor, was convicted of murder by a jury in 2010. The conviction was subsequently overturned by an appeals court in 2015. The man was then acquitted of all charges and released from prison. He then opted to pursue civil litigation. The two detectives involved with the initial case have since retired.
An attorney familiar with preparing a defense against charges involving violent crimes may approach a similar case by also questioning the actions of law enforcement officials or statements made by witnesses. A criminal defense lawyer might also review existing evidence, interview witnesses again to determine if their accounts of events can be supported and work with third-party investigators. If a client’s innocence can be proven, related legal actions against accusers may be discussed.