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Author Topic: D.C. police framed man imprisoned 27 years for 1981 murder, U.S. jury finds  (Read 141 times)


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A federal jury on Wednesday found that D.C. police framed an innocent man for a 1981 rape and murder, making the District liable for damages after he was imprisoned for 27 years.

Jurors found that two D.C. homicide detectives fabricated all or part of a confession purportedly made by the wrongly accused Donald E. Gates to a police informant. The detectives also withheld other evidence from Gates before he was convicted in the fatal attack on a 21-year-old Georgetown University student in Rock Creek Park, jurors found.

Gates, now 64, was exonerated in the June 1981 killing and released from prison in 2009 after DNA testing.

Following Wednesday’s verdict, Gates’s attorneys said the detectives’ conduct warranted investigation into their handling of other cases. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District declined to comment on the verdict or whether the decision exposes the detectives to criminal investigation for perjury.

“It feels like the God of the King James Bible is real, and he answered my prayers,” Gates, who lives in Knoxville, Tenn., said as he left the courtroom. “Justice is on the way to being fulfilled. .?.?. It’s one of the happiest days of my life.”

[Back outside ‘that cage’: Donald Gates adjusts to freedom]

The verdict opens a new round of accountability for Gates’s wrongful conviction, which earlier triggered reviews by the U.S. attorney’s office, the Justice Department and the FBI. The jury’s decision means the District could be ordered to pay millions of dollars for misconduct by homicide detectives Ronald S. Taylor and Norman Brooks, now retired.

A third defendant — now-retired­ lieutenant John Harlow — was cleared by the jury.

Gates’s case was the first federal civil rights claim for damages involving a wrongful conviction in the District.

By law, jurors face no limit on how much money they can award Gates in compensatory damages. The dollar figure will be set as the civil trial continues before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts of U.S. District Court.

The possibility of a sizable sum for Gates clearly weighed on District attorneys who addressed the jury.

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Re: D.C. police framed man imprisoned 27 years for 1981 murder, U.S. jury finds
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2015, 08:46 PM NHFT »

   27 years is a long time. 
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