SF Gets Stamp on Deal for Wrongful Imprisonment

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – An 18-year wrongful imprisonment stemming from hidden exculpatory evidence will cost San Francisco $3.5 million, a federal judge ruled, signing off on a settlement.
     Caramad Conley sued the San Francisco City-County and former SFPD inspector Prentice Earl Sanders for civil rights violations in 2012, a year after obtaining habeas relief. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Marla Miller had found that “numerous constitutional violations committed by Sanders” kept Conley from receiving a fair trial, according to the man’s original complaint.
     Police arrested Conley three years after a drive-by shooting that killed two and injured 13 during a surge of gang violence in 1989. Despite the lack of physical or eyewitness evidence linking Conley to the shooting, a jury convicted him in 1994 – based largely on the testimony of two witnesses whom Sanders had allegedly bribed to testify against Conley.
     A year ago, U.S. District Judge Joseph Spero ordered a trial against San Francisco, finding that a reasonable jury could find the city’s police officers had both violated Conley’s civil rights and had acted under color of law in the plot to convict the man of double homicide.
     City attorney Dennis Herrera recommended this past July that the city settle Conley’s lawsuit, and advised the Board of Supervisors that both the current police chief and the city’s police commission had already signed off on the deal. The board voted 9-1 – with one abstention – to accept the $3.5 million payout to Conley.
     Spero gave his approval and dismissed the case on Sept. 3.
     Conley was represented by Daniel Purcell of the firm Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco.

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