A shocking case of false imprisonment in New York City cost a Brooklyn man two and a half decades of his life. Jonathan Fleming spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. In 1989, Fleming was tried for and convicted of shooting and killing a friend–primarily on the testimony of a single eye witness. He was sentenced to prison for that murder but never once stopped insisting on his innocence. The shocking truth is that there was undeniable proof (including a hotel receipt, vacation video, and eyewitness accounts) that placed him in an Orlando theme park at the time of the murder. Some of that proof was withheld from Fleming’s defense attorney and was never produced in court.
When the witness finally recanted their version of the story, decades had passed. Fleming was released but nearly half of his life had passed behind bars. Fleming sought legal representation and sued the City of New York for $162 million dollars–$17,000 per day of his unlawful incarceration.
In a move to decrease the financial responsibility of City, the comptroller settled Fleming’s New York City false imprisonment case out of court for just $6.2 million. That equates to roughly $700 for everyday he spent in jail as a victim of a legal system too eager to accept the lies of a single eyewitness.
As Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson said, “no amount of money will ever give him back that time.” Indeed, Mr. Fleming’s victory was bittersweet. His mother is currently in the hospital and not expected to recover.
The City comptroller handled the negotiations in order to avoid paying the full amount due and exposing the City to more bad publicity.
If you or a loved one has been wrongly convicted of a crime and has suffered unlawful incarceration, contact a New York City wrongful imprisonment attorney today to discuss the legal options available to you. As with Mr. Fleming’s case, you may recover a financial award without even having to go to court. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at 646-736-2777 or 212-385-1122 to learn your rights.