Hundreds of inmates across the county have been exonerated after being wrongly convicted and serving years in prison, some even held on death row. Many have also filed lawsuits after their release and won millions of dollars against the very authorities that put them behind bars.
If you served a lengthy prison sentence and were later freed because you were wrongly convicted, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. Our firm has more than 40 attorneys with experience filing actions against the government. We have won more than $10 billion for our clients to date in cases throughout the United States.
At last count, 367 people have been exonerated from wrongful convictions and prison by DNA testing alone, according to the Innocence Project, an organization founded in 1992 that seeks post-conviction DNA testing to prove inmates’ innocence. Many others have been freed for reasons other than DNA test results.
Kline & Specter has won billions for clients, including many civil rights lawsuits against government authorities, including a $10.5 million settlement for the family of a Philadelphia teenager who died after he was strangled after being placed in a restraint hold at a Tennessee treatment center. Omega Leach had been placed at the facility by the Department of Human Services despite warnings that it was dangerous.
In 2017, Kline & Specter reached a settlement with the City of Philadelphia to pay $4.4 million to a young man who was mistaken as a criminal suspect and was shot by two plainclothes police officers as he was delivering take-out food in West Philadelphia. The settlement also required improved regulations and new training protocols for all undercover officers. (see news coverage)
In another case, we settled litigation for $1.125 million against the City of Philadelphia after a man and his infant son were killed by a speeding police car as they stood on a street corner. The case also resulted in the city police agreeing to a series of reforms designed the reduce the number of fatal accidents in the future, including new policies that officers log 60 hours behind the wheel with a veteran before driving alone and that squad cars responding to emergencies must stop (rather than slow) at red lights and stop signs. (see more on story)
One of the most publicized instances of a wrongful conviction involved the Central Park Five, a group of young New York City men wrongfully imprisoned for rape, a crime for which a serial rapist later confessed. They were awarded $41 million for their wrongful imprisonment.
The Dixmoor Five, a group of Illinois teenagers, also were exonerated after years in prison when DNA testing proved they were not guilty of rape. The Illinois State Police in that case agreed to pay $40 million.
There are many more cases in which exonerated innocent people won large results for the many wasted years spent behind bars, including the October 2019 trial in which a federal jury awarded $27 million — $1 million for each year served—to a man who served most of his life in prison for a Massachusetts nightclub murder he didn’t commit. Among other lawsuits with large results for former inmates: $25 million (Chicago, trial), $21 million (Chicago, trial), $20 million (Illinois, settlement) , $14 million (Missouri, trial), $13.2 million (Cleveland; trial), 10.25 million (Illinois, settlement), $10 million (Chicago, settlement), $9 million (Illinois, trial).
Kline & Specter provides free evaluations for all cases. We have offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. For cases outside those states, we work with local attorneys in each state as applicable.