NY to Pay $9.9 Million To Man Framed By Corrupt Detective

New York City has agreed to pay Barry Gibbs $9.9 million. Gibbs served 19 years in jail as a result of being framed by a corrupt detective.

....Barry Gibbs, had served 19 years in prison when his conviction was overturned in 2005 after questions were raised about how his case had been handled by Louis J. Eppolito, a New York City police detective, one of the notorious “Mafia cops” serving life in prison for taking part in mob-related killings.

.... “They are permanent scars,” he added. “It’s been a long road. I’ve been through a lot, and it was very traumatic for me.” Mr. Gibbs, 62, who has recently wrestled with severe health problems, previously received a $1.9 million settlement from the state.

The victim was a prostitute, and at the time of her murder, Gibbs was a postal worker with a drug problem who had had a relationship with her. [More...]

“It’s a horrible injustice,” said Barry C. Scheck, one of Mr. Gibbs’s lawyers and a co-director of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. “He was in prison close to 19 years, and he was framed by one of the worst cops that ever served in the New York City police force, a man who disgraced the badge.”

(The Innocence Project helped get Mr. Gibbs’s verdict overturned, but Mr. Scheck represented Mr. Gibbs in his lawsuit through his private firm and will receive one-third of the settlement, the standard contingency fee.)

Gibbs is recovering from colon cancer, and recently got engaged.

Background on the crooked cop (Eppolito and partner) is here and here. Interesting factoid: Eppolito played "Fat Andy" in the movie Goodfellas.

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    Mr. Sheck couldn't find it in his heart to (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 11:32:30 AM EST
    continue to represent Mr. Gibbs on a pro bono basis regarding the large monetary settlements from the city and state?  

    Barry Scheck's work on the (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Chuck0 on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 12:10:19 PM EST
    Innocence Project is incredibly generous. I think he deserves to get paid once in awhile. I would imagine even he has to eat. Besides, there's a good chance some of that money will be rolled into the Innocence Project, which exists by donations. Don't begrudge a generous lawyer some bread.

    In my experience, pro bono lawyers, (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 12:20:28 PM EST
    who often work for large law firms, don't take a cut of civil settlements.

    Yes, Wholeheartedly Agree (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 12:20:02 PM EST
    Always interesting to see those here who would begrudge such a fine human being a few dollars...   predictable, imo.

    Maybe it is because some on the prosecutorial side of the law begrudge him for winning an acquittal for OJ. And, not to mention, the fact that the innocence project has pointed to 217 wrongful convictions, makes prosecutors, and those who are "tough on crime" look bad.

    Scheck co-founded the Innocence Project in 1992 with Peter Neufeld, also his co-counsel on the O.J. Simpson defense team. The Project is dedicated to the utilization of DNA evidence as a means to exculpate individuals of crimes for which they were wrongfully convicted. As of May 28, 2008, 217 wrongful convictions have been overturned by DNA testing thanks to the Project and other legal organizations. The Innocence Project does not use legal technicalities to challenge convictions; the Project only accepts cases in which newly discovered scientific evidence can potentially raise a reasonable doubt as to a criminal defendant's guilt.

    Good. (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 07:37:04 AM EST

    Wouldn't call it good... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 07:49:38 AM EST
    ya can't put a price on 19 years of wrongly convicted hell.

    But better than the cities/states that do d*ck for the wrongly convicted.

    I wonder when NYC & NYS will tire of big settlement after big settlement and finally reign in their mercs...they're killin' the taxpayer, not to mention our collective soul.


    Well (none / 0) (#3)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 07:54:42 AM EST
    Good that Gibbs is getting out of prison and will be able to financially survive.  Bad for the reason he was there in the first place.

    But I'm glad the detective and his partner are in prison.  Cops have hard enough jobs without corrupt ones like this making it harder.  The justice system is clogged enough as it is, without having the effort, time, and money being spent to try, convict, and house people like Gibbs.


    With the paltry wages... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 08:06:30 AM EST
    paid to mercs in an increasing expensive city, I'd expect police corruption to keep on keepin' on...that's why it is so imperative to strictly limit and monitor police & prosecutorial power.

    Meanwhile...people are trying to criminalize citizens from doing exactly that in several locales.  Seems the watchers don't like being watched...imagine that.


    Or (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 08:21:07 AM EST
    Pay them higher wages.

    Look, I'm all for keeping people accountable (I'm a rule-follower, remember?)  Cops and prosecutors should be (and are) held to a higher standard. Use all the cameras you want to keep them in line - as long as you can get the whole story.  What's funny is that your position is that we should hold cops accountable for their behavior, but not people who are, you know, committing crimes.

    In the case we are talking about, Gibbs was wrongly imprisoned.  That's very sad - he won't get those years back and no amount of money can really make it up to him.  But the detectives who investigated the case were criminals first and they are rightfully paying with their freedom.  But you have to realize that isn't the case with most cops and most prosecutors.

    Justice Souter gave an excellent commencement speech at Harvard a few weeks ago. (Full text is here - I highly recommend reading it). His basic theme was why an "originalist" view of the Constitution (held by Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito) was wrong. But he also made this very good point while discussing the Pentagon Papers case (although it applies across the board) {my emphasis in bold}:

    Even the First Amendment, then, expressing the value of speech and publication in the terms of a right as paramount as any fundamental right can be, does not quite get to the point of an absolute guarantee.  It fails because the Constitution has to be read as a whole, and when it is, other values crop up in potential conflict with an unfettered right to publish, the value of security for the nation and the value of the president's authority in matters foreign and military.  The explicit terms of the Constitution, in other words, can create a conflict of approved values, and the explicit terms of the Constitution do not resolve that conflict when it arises.  The guarantee of the right to publish is unconditional in its terms, and in its terms the power of the government to govern is plenary.  A choice may have to be made, not because language is vague but because the Constitution embodies the desire of the American people, like most people, to have things both ways.  We want order and security, and we want liberty.  And we want not only liberty but equality as well.  These paired desires of ours can clash, and when they do a court is forced to choose between them, between one constitutional good and another one.  The court has to decide which of our approved desires has the better claim, right here, right now, and a court has to do more than read fairly when it makes this kind of choice.  And choices like the ones that the justices envisioned in the [Pentagon] Papers case make up much of what we call law.

    We're not paying a common criminal... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 08:36:21 AM EST
    to do his/her thing...though we do pay police and prosecutors to do theirs...we are all accessories when they commit crimes...they are crimes done under the banner of "we the people".

    And quit telling me I don't wanna hold criminals accountable...of course I do, I just have major beefs with the unequal, often harsh and tyrannical way we choose to do it.

    I see Souter's point in your excerpt...guess you could say individual liberty often has the stronger claim in my book, almost always even.  There is nothing I want more from my government and from the law than protection from the "protectors"...and the trend has been towards security and order claims, for my entire life.  


    Well (none / 0) (#7)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 08:55:39 AM EST
    We all can't have unfettered liberty and live together in society - that's why we have laws.  :)

    That's why we need laws... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 09:10:28 AM EST
    but not so damn many, so unequally enforced,  with punishments so harsh...that doesn't make for shiny happy livin' together either kid:)

    And if you're gonna err...better on the side of liberty than tyranny.


    I can agree with that (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Fri Jun 04, 2010 at 09:20:58 AM EST
    Enforce the ones we've got - get rid of the unneccessary ones (like in NY:  It is illegal for citizens to greet each other by "putting one's thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers") and apply them as equally as possible.

    And you made my day by calling me "kid".  :)