Derrick Deacon, Who Was Locked Up for 24 Years After Wrongful Conviction, Sues NY
Derrick Deacon spent 24 years in prison because city investigators coerced a witness to lie in her testimony. This dirt came out during Deacon's retrial last fall. On November 18, a Brooklyn Supreme Court jury needed just nine minutes of deliberation before declaring Deacon innocent.
New Yorkers have become familiar with this kind of story by now. There has been a wave of exonerations in recent years, freeing men who were wrongfully convicted in the '80s and '90s. Brooklyn alone has had five exonerations over the past year, all involving men who spent at least 15 years locked up.
A lot of shoes are about to drop. Here is one of them: Deacon has filed a lawsuit against the state for the wrongful imprisonment, the New York Post reported on Monday.
He is suing New York for $25 million. The Post article mentioned only New York state as the lawsuit's target, but civil suits often list as many viable defendants as possible, and New York City's law enforcement institutions played the central role in this injustice.
If the city is involved, Deacon may find a cooperative adversary. Mayor Bill de Blasio has proclaimed his intention to acknowledge the injustices of the past by painlessly settling lawsuits with the exonerated.
In February, the comptroller's office negotiated a $6.4 million settlement with David Ranta, who was imprisoned for 23 years because of a wrongful conviction. The comptroller handled the negotiation without consulting with the city's Law Department, which, the New York Times reported at the time, "has no precedent in recent history."
De Blasio also called for a "swift settlement" with the five men wrongfully convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park in 1989. (Although last week lawyers for the men criticized the city for moving too slowly in the settlement process.)
Next: the misconduct that led to Deacon's wrongful conviction.