A man who spent 25 years in prison after being falsely arrested in New York and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit has won a $12 million settlement from the City of New York. Andre Hatchett, now 51-years old, was convicted of murder in 1991 and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. He and his lawyers argued at the time that he wasn’t physically capable of committing the murder as he was recovering from severe injuries at the time the killing took place. Andre was wrongfully found guilty and sentenced.
Now, 25 years after his wrongful arrest in Brooklyn, he is a free man. In addition, the lawsuit filed on his behalf seeking compensation for the two-and-a-half decades he spent behind bars has resulted in a near-record $12 million settlement.
Most lawsuits are settled out of court. As in this case, New York City opted to pay a wrongful arrest settlement and not continue the lawsuit in court. Settling is not unique to civil rights cases, where victims allege that their civil rights have been violated by the City of New York, the NYPD or the New York City Department of Corrections. The City believes in certain cases that it would be less costly to resolves the claim this way then let a jury decide what the victim might be entitled to.
A settlement often benefits the victim as well. While the victim may not get as much of an award if a jury decided the case, a settlement remove all the risk of proceeding to trial where anything can happen. In addition and most importantly, settlements are often paid out in the earlier stages of the litigation, so the victim is getting the award so much faster.
If you have suffered a wrongful arrest or imprisonment, an assault by a police or corrections officer, or any other civil rights violations, contact the New York City false arrest attorneys at the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel. Call 800-734-9338 or 212-385-1122 to schedule your free consultation today.