$13.2 Million Awarded to Man Wrongly Convicted
The City of Cleveland, Ohio was ordered to pay $13.2 million to David Ayers, a man wrongly convicted of aggravated murder who spent 11 years in prison. Ayers brought a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Cleveland, claiming that law enforcement officers had framed him because he is gay.
In 2000, Ayers was convicted of aggravated murder, but claimed his innocence throughout the case. The main evidence used against Ayers was the testimony of a jailhouse informant who said Ayers confessed to the murder. As it turned out, the information provided by the informant was given to the informant by the police officers investigating the case. Ayers also stated that those detectives made up a confession he never made and forced a friend of Ayers to lie that Ayers confessed to him about the murder.
In 2011, Ayers was freed after the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his conviction because the trial judge improperly allowed testimony by the jailhouse informant. Ayers was also cleared through DNA testing, in which the only piece of DNA found on the defendant did not belong to Ayers.
This story is one of sadness yet satisfaction. On the one hand, it is horrible that Ayers had to spend 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. On the other hand, this story shows that if the police do wrong, there is a remedy and there is a way to stand up for one’s rights. As Portland criminal defense lawyers, we see countless instances of police abuse, whether it be physical, evidentiary, or otherwise. If people like David Ayers don’t fight back, such abuses will never stop.