No one likes to be accused of doing something they did not do. Imagine, therefore, being accused and ultimately convicted of a crime you did not commit. Now imagine that crime was murder. In 2005, this was the reality for one man in his early twenties who served nearly 10 years of a 40-year sentence before the truth came out and he was released from prison.
Now 29-years-old, the man recently filed a $100 million civil rights lawsuit against several law enforcement officials and prosecutors who he claims lied and knowingly fabricated and withheld evidence. The man was released from prison last November after criminal defense attorneys were able to prove prosecutors in the original trial withheld evidence. While the man has regained his freedom, nothing can erase the pain and suffering he has been forced to endure.
In 2001, a man who worked as a newspaper sports editor was murdered. As police investigated the murder, a high school student came forward and told police he dreamt that he and a 17-year-old classmate had killed the man. This lead to the arrest and eventual conviction of both teens on serious criminal charges including murder charges. Shortly thereafter, the teen who originally went to police recanted his story. By then, however, it was too late and both were sentenced to serve lengthy prison terms.
The release of one of the wrongly convicted men has set off a firestorm as his recent lawsuit accuses prosecutors and law enforcement officials of lying, bullying and fabricating evidence. In his lawsuit the now 29-year-old man describes how his life has been adversely impacted. With no education, he does not even have the means to afford health insurance which would enable him to obtain the help and counseling he desperately needs. He has struggled to adjust to life outside of prison and continues to be haunted by his past.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Ryan Ferguson Files $100 Million Civil Rights Lawsuit Stemming From False Conviction,” Alan Scher Zagier, March 11, 2014