innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Friday, March 31, 2006

$14.5 Million Settlement in Tulsa

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A federal jury awarded $14.5 million in damages to a man who spent 14 years in prison for a rape conviction before DNA evidence exonerated him.

Arvin McGee Jr., 44, was freed in 2002 after his conviction in the 1987 rape and kidnapping was overturned. He sued the city of Tulsa the following year, claiming his constitutional rights had been violated.

“It’s justice,” McGee said Wednesday after the jury announced its verdict. His lawsuit didn’t name an amount. Deputy City Attorney Larry V. Simmons said the jury’s decision was “understandable in light of the fact that he was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.”

But he said the city would likely appeal. He could not say it might pay the $14.5 million if the appeal failed.

McGee’s lawsuit claimed a Tulsa police officer involved in the case acted with “deliberate indifference” toward McGee’s constitutional rights in connection with a five-man photo lineup from which the victim identified McGee as her attacker.

DNA testing later linked another man to the crime, but by that time, the seven-year statute of limitations that existed at the time of the crime had expired.

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