Federal Appeals Court Upholds $36M Verdict Against Nassau County for Malicious Prosecution & Wrongful Conviction
According to today's New York Law Journal, "the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the result of a contentious civil rights case brought by John Restivo and Dennis Halstead, who each spent 18 years in prison for the rape and murder of a 16 year old girl. A Brooklyn federal jury awarded the two men $1 million for each year they were in prison for malicious prosecution and denial of a fair trial." There was credible evidence presented to the jury that Nassau County homicide detectives either falsified or withheld evidence to convict the innocent men. The trial Judge agreed the lawyers for the wrongfully convicted men should recover approximately $5 million. Restivo v Hessemann, 14-4662-cv
There is a law that imposes 9% statutory interest against defendant's during the time after the jury verdict thru the appeal phase, which now results in the award now topping $50 million. Unless the Second Circuit agrees to a rehearing, or, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear an appeal, (both doubtful) Nassau County is stuck with this verdict. It is consistent with other verdicts and settlements arising out of wrongful conviction cases.