US Man Who Was Wrongly Imprisoned For 37 Years To Receive $14 Million As Compensation

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US Man Who Was Wrongly Imprisoned For 37 Years To Receive $14 Million As Compensation

The lawsuit was settled on January 11

A man from Florida who spent 37 years in prison for a 1983 rape and murder he did not commit is set to receive $14 million from the city of Tampa as compensation for all those lost years. Robert DuBoise, who was 18 when the crime occurred, was initially sentenced to death for the killing of 19-year-old Barbara Grams. 

ABC News reported that Mr DuBoise’s sentence was later reduced to life in prison in 2018- with help from the Innocence Project organisation. DNA testing, previously unavailable in the early 1980s, implicated two other individuals in the murder, resulting in DuBoise’s dismissal in 2020. Shortly thereafter, Mr DuBoise initiated legal action against the city of Tampa, the police officers involved in the investigation, and a forensic dentist who had attested that his dental impressions matched a purported bite mark on the victim.

The lawsuit was settled on January 11, but the Tampa City Council is required to vote on Thursday to ratify it and formally grant the $14 million to DuBoise, who is currently 59 years old. Representing him in the case was the Chicago-based civil rights law firm Loevy & Loevy, known for its extensive experience in handling wrongful conviction cases nationwide.

“The settlement is not only an acknowledgement of the harm that Mr. DuBoise suffered, but also an opportunity for him to move on with his life,” the law firm said in a statement.

In a statement, Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw highlighted that following the DuBoise case, detectives have received enhanced training, and technological advancements have significantly improved the handling of such investigations.

“We recognize the profound and lasting effects of this case, especially on Mr. DuBoise nearly four decades later,” Bercaw said.

According to city documents, Mr DuBoise and his law firm will get $9 million this year, $3 million next year, and $2 million in 2026.

In August 1983, as she made her way home from work at a Tampa restaurant, Grams was sexually assaulted and fatally beaten. A bite mark found on her cheek led investigators to collect bite samples from several individuals, including DuBoise. It’s worth noting that the impression of the wound was obtained using beeswax.

Despite not being acquainted with Grams but frequently being in the vicinity where her body was discovered, Mr DuBoise was identified as the source of the bite by the forensic dentist. However, during DuBoise’s lawsuit, the dentist testified that he no longer believes bite marks can definitively match a specific individual, as stated in the city council resolution regarding the settlement.

Decades later, DNA testing implicated Amos Robinson and Abron Scott, both of whom are serving life sentences for another homicide, in Grams’ murder. They are currently awaiting trial on first-degree murder charges related to Grams’ case.

Additionally, the testimony of a prison informant claiming that DuBoise confessed to the crime was later discredited. The city, as part of the settlement, denied any intentional wrongdoing by its police officers, contrary to DuBoise’s allegations in the lawsuit.

Mr DuBoise was released from a Florida prison in August 2020.

‘I prayed to God every day and hoped for it,” Mr DuBoise said moments after his release.

At a court hearing a month later, Mr DuBoise said he’s had a hard time trusting the judicial system “because I’ve had a lot of roadblocks thrown in my path.” Now, he said he believes justice has been done.

“There are true-hearted people in these offices now,” DuBoise said. “It’s been amazing. I’m just very grateful to all of you.”

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