An innocent man who spent 44 years in prison for rape receives ₦21.6bn compensation.
He may have lost 44 years, but Ronnie Long has finally found justice in millions of dollars.
Ronnie Long’s case shines a harsh light on the systemic injustices that can plague the legal system.
After enduring 44 years of wrongful imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit, Ronnie Long has finally found a measure of justice
In a landmark settlement, the African-American man who was convicted by an all-White jury in 1976 will receive $25 million (₦21.6 billion at an official CBN rate of ₦865) – the second-largest wrongful conviction settlement in U.S. history.
Long was accused of raping a 54-year-old white woman and despite a lack of physical evidence and inconsistencies in the case, he was convicted and sentenced to a life behind bars. However, the fight for justice didn’t end with the slam of the prison door.
Years of tireless efforts by Long and his attorneys, including the Duke Law School’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic, slowly chipped away at the flawed conviction.
Eventually, a “trickle of post-trial disclosures” brought to light a shocking truth: law enforcement had deliberately suppressed crucial evidence, including semen samples and fingerprints that definitively excluded Long.
In 2020, justice finally prevailed. Long’s conviction was overturned, and now, with this unprecedented settlement, the City of Concord acknowledges its “significant errors in judgment and willful misconduct” that led to this tragedy.
While no amount of money can truly compensate for the lost years, the $22 million from Concord and $3 million from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation offer a tangible acknowledgement of the immense loss Long suffered, including missing the death of his parents.
The case shines a harsh light on the systemic injustices that can plague the legal system, particularly for marginalised communities. While the settlement offers some solace, it’s a stark reminder of the human cost of flawed convictions and the fight for justice that so often stretches over decades.
This isn’t just about one man, though. Long’s story serves as a beacon of hope for others battling wrongful convictions, a testament to the unwavering pursuit of truth and the enduring power of human resilience.
He may have lost 44 years, but in this historic settlement, Ronnie Long has finally found justice in millions.
Source: This article was completely written by Bard, Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot.