Result: $4 Million Settlement Against NYPD Over Wrongful Imprisonment
The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. recovers $4 million settlement for a woman who spent over 4 years in jail after being wrongfully accused of murdering her lover.
Attorneys David H. Perecman, Zachary S. Perecman, and Peter Rigelhaupt of The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C. recovered a multi-million-dollar settlement for a client who had spent more than four years in jail after being arrested in connection to the murder of her boyfriend.
The Plaintiff was arrested in 2002 at the age of 26 after her lover was found murdered outside of his apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. At the time, she sold flowers on the street. She was interrogated for over 16 hours by police officers and coerced into signing a false confession. She was jailed at Rikers Island following her indictment and continued to maintain her innocence.
In January 2007, after more than four years of incarceration, charges against the Plaintiff were dropped without her case ever being brought to trial.
Civil Lawsuit & Claims
Represented by The Perecman Firm, the Plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit against the police officers involved in the investigation of her case, The City of New York, and the New York City Police Department. The suit raised several allegations, including false arrest and malicious prosecution. It sought compensatory damages for Ms. Torres’ four years of wrongful incarceration.
The Plaintiff claimed that her confession was coerced and that detectives repeatedly urged her to confess in a series of interrogations conducted over a two-week span by providing her with a false motive (jealousy) and telling her to claim she was acting in self-defense. An expert witness produced by The Perecman Firm opined that police officers did not have sufficient evidence to attempt to obtain a confession and that the confession was obtained using methods that often produce false confessions.
Additionally, Perecman attorneys alleged that investigating officers disregarded DNA evidence received in 2003 and 2004 that indicated blood recovered from the murder scene belonged to the victim and two unidentified men and that the Plaintiff’s DNA did not match DNA recovered from the scene.
The defense argued that the confession was obtained voluntarily and that the district attorney’s office did not disclose the DNA evidence to investigating officers.
After the case was initially dismissed by the lower courts, Attorneys David Perecman, Zach Perecman, and Peter Rigelhaupt were ultimately successful in bringing the case all the way to New York’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to reinstate the case in an approximately 40-page decision. Thereafter, they negotiated a pretrial settlement in which the City of New York, on behalf of all defendants, agreed to pay $4 million.