News 08.20.14

Another Wrongful Conviction Settlement in New York

Four years after Brooklyn prosecutors agreed to release a man convicted of a 1994 murder he didn’t commit, he has reached a $10 million settlement with the city.
The Daily News reported that Jabbar Collins, who spent more than 15 years in prison after he was wrongly convicted of the murder of Rabbi Abraham Pollack, ended his legal battle with the city Tuesday and joined the list of settlements built up under former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
Collins fought for years to prove he didn’t have a fair trial, and one month before he saw his conviction overturned, prosecutors finally admitted that critical evidence was withheld at trial from Collins’ attorney. The high profile murder is what led Collins to being railroaded in court in an effort to solve the crime and end the case with a conviction. 
Now 42, Collins finally feels a weight lifted from his shoulders. 
I lost some of the best years of my life in prison and now I’m starting my life all over again as a middle-aged man. My emotions are all over the place. A part of me wanted to lay everything out in a full public trial and put all these people on the witness stand. I’ve been litigating this for 20 years and for the first time in 20 years I don’t have to wake up in the morning having to fight that fight anymore.
Before Hynes was voted out of office last November, he acknowledged in a sworn deposition that he no longer believed Collins was guilty of killing the rabbi. And more recently, Hynes’ successor, Kenneth Thompson echoed that sentiment, telling the Daily News editorial board that Collins was innocent.
The judge who cleared Collins said the prosecutor in the case, Michael Vecchione, coerced witnesses to identify Collins and withheld evidence. Collins was able to uncover much of the alleged misconduct on his own by filing Freedom of Information requests from his upstate prison cell. Vecchione has denied any wrongdoing.
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