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New York City wrongful imprisonment settlement: Man gets $9.9M after 19 years

New York civil rights lawyer news: City pays out largest settlement ever to man who served 19 years under wrong conviction.

06/04/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks

New York, NY – On Tursday, June 3, 2010, New York City agreed to pay $9.9 million settlement to a man who served 19 years in prison after being framed by a police officer, as reported by The New York Times.

Barry Gibbs served almost two decades under a conviction stemming from a 1986 killing of a prostitute. The 27-year-old woman was strangled and dumped near the Belt Parkway. Gibbs claimed he was framed through the entire trial.

The conviction was finally overturned in 2005 after questions arose about how his case was handled by Detective Louis J. Eppolito, a notorious Mafia cop who is serving life in prison for taking part in mob-related killings. Eppolito led the investigation and pointed the finger towards Gibbs, who previously had a relationship with the woman.

Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa were charged with federal racketeering in 2005 and accused of taking payments from members of the Luchese crime family for inside information.

After a key witness admitted to being forced by Eppolito to falsely identify Gibbs, a Brooklyn judge overturned the guilty conviction.

Gibbs sued the city in 2006, and the civil trial was expected to begin this month. He had previously worked out a $1.9 million settlement with the state of New York.

Lawyers for Gibbs filed a civil rights lawsuit, claiming Eppolito “deliberately fabricated witness statements and police reports, withheld material, exculpatory evidence from prosecutors and intentionally failed to conduct an adequate investigation.” The suit also stated that Eppolito beat Gibbs into a false confession.

The Innocence Project helped Gibbs win his freedom.

During preliminary hearings, New York City upheld the guilty conviction for Gibbs. The city did not reveal why it decided to settle. A statement issued by the administration merely explained, “We have agreed to settle this case and believe it is in the best interest of all parties.”

The $9.9 million settlement is the largest sum the city has ever paid.

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