A 50-year-old Newark man recently received a $785,000 award after a jury determined that he had been falsely arrested and imprisoned on murder and assault charges. He had claimed that detectives working on his case had coerced witnesses into identifying him as the person who had shot and killed a Newark woman in 2009.
According to the plaintiff’s attorney, the detectives on the case coerced two witnesses into falsely identifying the man from photographs. One of the witnesses claimed that he had taken a shot at her earlier in the same area where the victim was found shot. The other claimed that she had seen the victim get into a car with the accused earlier in the evening.
The witnesses and the victim had been working as prostitutes at the time of the crime and had known each other.
Initially, neither woman had identified the accused from a photo array shown to them by the detectives. In the civil trial, both women testified that they chose the accused’s photo after a second viewing and had been influenced to do so by the detectives.
Based on the identifications, the man was jailed at the Essex County Correctional Facility from February 2009 to July 2010. The charges were dropped when the two witnesses who had made the identifications could not be found to testify at trial.
After a three-week trial, the jury in the civil trial found that one of the detectives named in the lawsuit had coerced the witnesses into identifying the man from photographs. The jury found that the detective had “imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted” the accused and “intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon him.”
The jury cleared the second detective named in the lawsuit of any wrongdoing
To date, nobody has been charged in the 2009 homicide.
If you have been falsely accused of a crime, it is essential that you seek the services of a criminal defense attorney at the law firm of Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo to assure that your legal rights are protected. A person should never go to prison for a crime he or she did not commit. If you have questions about your case, call us toll-free at (888) 847-2529 or contact us online today for a free consultation.