PA Civil Rights Attorneys

PA Civil Rights Attorneys

Victims of wrongful arrests, convictions, and incarcerations experience harrowing trials and tribulations that often disrupt the rest of their lives and those of their families. These unjust experiences directly lead to painful separation from loved ones and create formidable obstacles for returning to a normal life, such as securing employment and restoring relationships. Victims often struggle to regain their sense of self, their reputation, and mental health during the aftermath of their convictions. 

At McEldrew Purtell, we pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients, and go above and beyond to bring our clients justice. Never backing down from a challenge, we work tirelessly to secure fair and just compensation for the victims and ensure the case receives the public attention and support it deserves, contributing to the advancement of justice and equality in our country.

Mistakes and Misconduct in Law Enforcement

Studies estimate that 4% to 6% of people in U.S. prisons are actually innocent. Wrongful convictions can occur anywhere for a wide variety of reasons. It is possible for law enforcement to make an honest mistake when errors in judgment and investigative practices occur. 

Some convictions are also based on false, unreliable, or coerced testimony and evidence. In such instances, police and prosecutorial misconduct, which includes failure to disclose exonerating evidence, plays a significant role in many of these wrongful convictions, leading to a breach of justice.

Legal Recourse for the Wrongfully Convicted

Those who have been wrongfully convicted have legal recourse. State wrongful conviction laws and civil rights lawsuits provide avenues for recovering monetary damages. McEldrew Purtell’s civil rights lawyers are experts in guiding victims through this complex process to help them obtain the justice, compensation, and media attention they deserve. 

Compensation and Services for Victims

Wrongful conviction victims are entitled to seek monetary compensation for each year of their wrongful incarceration. Although it won’t take away the pain and stigma of the accusations, it can help provide a new foundation for life and a fresh start. The compensation is also supplemented by assistance to secure housing, employment, educational opportunities, and mental health services for a holistic approach to recovery.

Understanding the Pervasiveness of Wrongful Convictions

Wrongful convictions continue to be a significant issue, despite the advancement in DNA technology. When cases lack DNA evidence, victims are left with limited options to prove their innocence. Lacking evidence requires ongoing vigilance and reform in the legal system to prevent miscarriages of justice.

Wrongful Conviction Settlements

  • $25 million—Ronnie Wallace Long (2021): Long won a $25 million combined settlement with a central North Carolina city and the state of North Carolina after spending 44 years in prison for a wrongful robbery and rape conviction in 1976.

  • $7.5 million—Keith Cooper (2021): Cooper won a settlement with Elkhart, IN, after being sentenced to 40 years in prison and serving 8 for a wrongful conviction of armed robbery in 1997.

  • $10 million - Ryan Ferguson (2017): Ryan Ferguson won $10 million after spending nearly 10 years in a Columbia, MO, prison for a wrongful felony murder in the second degree conviction in 2001.

  • $13.8 million—George Allen Jr. (2016): Won a $13.8 million settlement after being wrongfully convinced of murder in 1983 in St. Louis. 

  • $41 million: Central Park Five (2014): Five wrongfully convicted victims for an assault and rape in New York City in 1989 were exonerated in 2022 and won $41 million in settlement. 

  • $1 million—Ricky Jackson (2016): Jackson won $1 million after being wrongfully convicted of murder in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1975 and found innocent and released in 2014.

  • $40 million: Jeffrey Deskovic (2014): Deskovic won a $40 million settlement after a wrongful conviction in 1990 for rape and murder in Peekskill, New York. He was proven to be not guilty and walked free in 2006.

  • $5.25 million: Walter Swift (2012): Swift secured a $5.25 million settlement following his wrongful conviction for rape in Detroit in 1982 and exoneration in 2008.

  • $13.2 million—David Ayers (2014): Ayers won $13.2 million after being wrongfully convicted in 2000 for murder in Cleveland, Ohio, and exonerated in 2011.

  • $40 million: Jonathan Barr (2014): Barr, part of the "Englewood Four," wrongfully convicted in 1995 in Chicago, won a collective $40 million settlement after their exoneration in 2011.

  • $1.75 million: James Bain (2011): Bain received $1.75 million following his wrongful conviction in 1974 for kidnapping and rape in Florida and his exoneration in 2009.

  • $1.5 million—Brian Banks (2015): Banks won $1.5 million after being wrongfully convicted for rape in California in 2002 and exonerated in 2012.

  • $8 million—The Wilmington Ten (2017): This group was awarded $8 million following their wrongful conviction in 1971 for arson and conspiracy in North Carolina and pardon in 2012.

Get in Touch

Consult With a Civil Rights Attorney

Legal teams specializing in wrongful convictions provide assistance for a variety of criminal accusations, from minor to major offenses. Between 1989 and 2017 alone, there were nearly 2,000 known exonerations in the U.S. The focus is to not only overturn wrongful convictions publicly or secure a pardon, but to secure just and fair compensation to restore the freedom and dignity of those who have been unjustly accused.

Filing a civil rights lawsuit requires a dedicated team of trial attorneys, a thorough investigation, and fortitude from both parties. The lawyers at McEldrew Purtell are committed to obtaining justice for victims of wrongful convictions and their families and have the experience and track record to deliver the best results.

Contact our team today for a free and confidential consultation by filling out our form or by calling (866) 357-8614.