innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Man Freed After 14 Years Sues NYC

This article appeared in the New York Times on November 14, 2006:

Man Freed After 14 Years Sues NYC

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) -- A man whose murder conviction was overturned after he spent 14 years in prison has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city, claiming authorities mishandled dozens of cases and failed to train and supervise prosecutors.

The lawsuit filed Monday in federal court for Olmado Hidalgo seeks damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment.

Hidalgo was freed last year after a judge threw out his conviction, saying there was ''powerful'' evidence that someone else committed the murder of nightclub bouncer Marcus Peterson in 1990.

The lawsuit claims the lead police investigator and the case prosecutor both ignored evidence that contradicted their theory of the crime, and that prosecutors did not keep records that might have proven Hidalgo's innocence, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions.
The lawsuit cites 27 other cases that it says reflect similar misconduct, and it suggests some problems were due to insufficient training, supervision and discipline of prosecutors.

''There seems to be a type of pattern,'' said Irving Cohen, Hidalgo's lawyer.

A spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, saying prosecutors had not yet seen the court papers. A call to the office early Tuesday was not immediately returned.

Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the Police Department, said he would not comment because of the pending litigation.

Hidalgo, now in his 40s, has returned to his native Dominican Republic.

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