Jabbar Collins, Wrongfully Imprisoned for 16 Years, Gets $10 Mil Settlement from City
Jabbar Collins's lawsuit against the city and state for his 16-year wrongful imprisonment has been a groundbreaking case. The case forced former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes to testify under oath about misconduct in his office for the first time. It led to the telling deposition of top prosecutor Michael Vecchione, who answered "I don't recall" more than 300 times during questioning. Former Brooklyn Detective Louis Scarcella was one of the next witnesses on the list. Other high level criminal justice officials may have followed.
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The trial was scheduled for October. It was setting up to be a spectacle, with a parade of powerful men taking the stand to answer questions about their roles in the city's wrongful convictions.
But instead, the case has come to a close. On Tuesday, New York City agreed to pay Collins a $10 million settlement.
That comes about month after the state reached a $3 million settlement with Collins, who is 42.
Collins had been convicted of a 1994 murder. A judge vacated his conviction in 2010, after finding evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.
In recent months, Collins's lawyer Joel Rudin expressed that he was seeking to get his client a settlement of around $16 million, $1 million for every year behind bars. That's how much the city paid the Central Park Five in June.
The city's settlement with Collins shows that the Central Park Five amount will not be standard. Still, the payout is much more than the city paid David Ranta, who got $6.4 million last year for his 23-year wrongful imprisonment.
Jonathan Fleming, who was released last year after a 24-year wrongful imprisonment, sued the city for $162 million in June. Other suits are likely to come. This Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has dismissed the convictions of seven men who had been locked up since the '80s and '90s.
The Collins case is only the start of the legal scrutiny.
In September, Scarcella is scheduled to testify in a hearing that will determine whether Shabaka Shakur was wrongfully convicted in 1988.
Next: background on Collins's conviction and release.