A man who spent two decades in prison for a crime he didn’t commit is being refused his $18.5 million settlement from New York courts due to the “excessive” amount of the reward.
Alan Newton spent years in a legal battle with the city after he was released from jail in 2006, the NY Daily News reports. Newton was convicted of raping a woman in the Bronx and slashing her face in 1985. After years of pressing the state to find the rape kit tied to his case, DNA evidence in 2005 revealed Newton was not connected to the crime. He was exonerated the following year.
He sued the city in 2010. After coming to an $18.5 million agreement, the settlement was then overturned the following year, due to claims Newton didn’t successfully prove city employees “withheld evidence in deliberate contravention or disregard of his right to due process.”
Manhattan Federal Court Judge Shira Scheindlin, who presided over the case in 2011, stated negligence wasn’t enough proof to show the prosecution deliberately withheld evidence. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Scheindlin’s decision, reinstating the original verdict.
Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci explained the city’s problem with the settlement.
NY Daily News reports:
“We are not contesting the verdict, just (that) it’s excessive compared to similar cases,” he said.
Newton’s lawyer, John Schutty, said the city already had a chance to appeal these issues and didn’t. “It’s always something new. Anything they can raise to stall payment, they raise,” he said.
“I was willing to take $5 million,” Newton said. “They refused. They only offered $1 million, which was their way of saying they don’t even want to talk.”
Today, Newton works for CUNY’s Black Male Initiative. The program helps increase graduation rates among men of color through educational programs. Newton has a part-time position that pays roughly $30,000 a year.
City lawyers are reportedly still working to reduce the settlement amount.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty