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Firm Name Pittsburgh Criminal Lawyer
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Wrongfully convicted man set to sue; will cost taxpayers

Wrongful imprisonment happens much more than Americans care to admit. It’s one of those subjects that many force out of their minds because they hate to think the justice system has failed someone so horribly that they will have spent months, years, possibly decades in prison having never broken the law. People who are put in these awful predicaments have recourse once the justice system is finally ready to make a mistake. Unfortunately, however, it’s the taxpayers that take the hit, paying into huge restitution costs levied by the court, against counties, for the wrongfully convicted. Fayette commissioners got updates from an attorney Tuesday on a federal civil rights lawsuit against two former county prosecutors. It was then learned how much the case could cost the county, according to the commissioner. The update was provided during a twenty minute executive session called during an agenda meeting. The wrongfully convicted in question, a 59-year-old man formerly of Latrobe, is suing former two former prosecutors, alleging that they withheld important evidence in a double-homicide case against the man. He was thusly convicted in 1986 for killing two men in Bear Rocks, PA, but the conviction has since been overturned by a federal judge. The man was freed in 2011. And the charges against him were dismissed in 2013 when prosecutors failed to bring forth enough evidence to retry the case. The man claims the two prosecutors, now judges, destroyed a tape in which a key witness said he had no knowledge of the crime. The witness testified that he watched the 1977 killings of a 24-year-old man at another man’s home. But during convicted’s appeal, evidence turned up that the witness was out of state at the time of the shootings. The current commissioner said the attorney who represents the two former-prosecutors-turned-judges gave the commissioners an estimate for legal fees to consider working into the county’s budget. He provided the commissioners with plausible outcomes for the case and their legal positions. The current commissioner says: “This case is going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money.” The wrongly convicted man is now seeking unspecified damages from the two judges for allegedly denying his right to a fair trial, post-conviction, and habeas corpus relief. The two judges, who are now senior judges in Fayette County, and a state police trooper who has since died, are defendants in the lawsuit. Source:, “Wrongful conviction suit could be costly for Fayette County taxpayers” 8 September 2015

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