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Missouri man freed after appeal files lawsuit

Last fall we wrote a post on the successful appeal a Missouri man filed in relation to a murder conviction. As a 17-year-old the man was accused, and found guilty of, murdering the sports editor of a Missouri community's paper, in the parking lot of the newspaper offices. The guilty verdict resulted in a 40-year prison sentence.

The basis for the appeal and case being overturned is that the prosecution withheld evidence from the defense in the original case.

While the man's release after having spent 3,533 days in prison was undoubtedly a happy day for him, it may also have been scary. Though he entered prison a young man with his entire life ahead of him, upon release, the 29-year-old has a lot of ground to makeup. The situation he is walking into is anything but perfect as he does not have a job or an education to fall back upon. In addition he does not have healthcare or the money needed to acquire it. This may have contributed to the man's recent decision to file a lawsuit against several individuals and multiple entities involved in prosecuting the man's case. He is seeking a total of $100 million.

Of the $100 million, three quarters of it is for actual damages. The remaining $25 million is for punitive damages. More specifically, it is for:

  • Defamation
  • False arrest
  • Failure to intervene
  • Conspiracy
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Violation of due process

How this lawsuit will be resolved remains to be seen. What is clear however is that he has been placed in a situation that did not need to exist.

Source: Courthouse News, "$100 Million Demanded for 10 Years in Prison," Joe Harris, March 13, 2014

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