A Philadelphia man has been awarded $9.8 million (Rs 71.63 crore) as compensation after he was wrongly judged and imprisoned for twenty eight years.
In 1991, Chester Hollman III was twenty one years old when he was charged with the murder of a student of the University of Pennsylvania during an unsuccessful robbery, said a media report.
Chester’s release was ordered in July of 2019 by a judge who stated that police and prosecutors had built their case against Chester based on false evidence from people who were forced to come forward as witnesses.
It was also stated that the evidence which pointed towards the real perpetrators was withheld at the time.
Assistant District Attorney, Patricia Cummings, told the court, “I apologize to Chester Hollman. I apologize because he was failed, and in failing him, we failed the victim, and we failed the community of the city of Philadelphia.”
Chester said that this was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. “There are no words to express what was taken from me. But this settlement closes out a difficult chapter in my life as my family and I now embark on a new one,” he said.
Chester’s story has also been part of a crime series released by Netflix last year, called ‘The Innocence Files’, reported India Times on Sunday.
Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, co-founders of non-profit organisation The Innocence Project, said: “We are thrilled to be part of the groundbreaking Netflix series, The Innocence Files. This is truly important television. Each episode reveals – step by step – how the American criminal justice system gets it wrong. These stories feature people whose freedom was stolen because of governments’ reliance on junk science, discredited and suggestive eyewitness identification procedures, and prosecutors who engage in misconduct to win at any cost.”
They added, “We hope these stories motivate people to take action. There are tried and tested reforms that will improve the system to make it more fair and just. Countless innocent people endure unspeakable suffering in maximum security prisons and death row for crimes they didn’t commit.”
They also said, “These miscarriages of justice extend a circle of pain and trauma that embraces families, communities, and even victims of crime. We must do better.”