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NYC continues to pay large sums to settle Brooklyn wrongful conviction cases

January 13, 2015 By Charisma L. Troiano, Esq. Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Robert Hill. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File
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New York City will pay $17 million to settle three wrongful criminal convictions.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer said last week that the settlements involve cases handled by retired homicide Detective Louis Scarcella. 

The cases involved three half-brothers; one died in prison. Robert Hill, Alvena Jennette and Darryl Austin spent a combined total of 60 years in prison before a judge vacated their convictions in May. 

Stringer told The New York Times he believed the city should avoid litigation — if found liable at trial — in which it could face exposure to high damages. 

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The settlement for the three brothers is one of many recently awarded to wronged Brooklyn defendants with even more demands for compensation pending.  David Ranta, the first man released after a review by the then-Wrongful Convictions Unit, received a pre-litigation settlement of $6.4 million from Stringer’s office in February 2014.

Ranta’s family has also filed a $15 million suit alleging that the family was “deprived of their intimate familial relations with David Ranta, who was maliciously and despotically torn away from them and wrongfully imprisoned for over 23 years for a highly publicized murder that he did not commit.”

The family of wrongly convicted William Lopez is planning a similar suit. Lopez died due to complications from an asthma attack shortly after being released from a 23-year prison term. The Lopez family is continuing a $124 million suit. 

The largest settlement to date is that of Jabbar Collins, who received a total of $13 million as compensation for the more than 15 years he wrongly spent behind bars after the murder conviction of a Brooklyn rabbi.

-With The Associated Press


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