Philadelphia To Pay $9.8 Million To Black Man Exonerated After Nearly 30 Years
A Black man who was wrongly imprisoned for nearly thirty years has now been given one of the largest settlements in Philadelphia’s history.
In 1991, Chester Hollman III was arrested for the murder of a University of Pennsylvania student. At the time, Hollman was 21 with no prior convictions and working as an armoured car driver. Nonetheless, Hollman spent the last twenty-eight years in prison for a crime he did not commit because he was driving a white SUV that was similar to the vehicle of a criminal at the time.
Hollman was charged with fatally shooting a student after a botched robbery attempt, though he maintained his innocence throughout the sentencing. Now, the methods the police used to secure the sentence have come to light.
Last year, a judge ruled that the police and prosecutors in the case had created a conviction through fabricated statements that had been coerced from witnesses. The prosecution and law enforcers also withheld vital evidence that could have helped find the actual criminal who committed the crime, Complex reports.
The settlement was announced on Wednesday, December 30, and it was revealed that Hollman, now aged 49, would receive $9.8 million in compensation. This is just $50,000 short of the largest wrongful conviction settlement ever given in Philadelphia. However, the agreement with Hollman is different because legal proceedings to sue the city had not begun. Instead, this settlement has been reached before a suit was filed.
Speaking about the settlement to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hollman said:
There are no words to express what was taken from me, but this settlement closes out a difficult chapter in my life as my family and I now embark on a new one.
A pervious episode of Netflix’s The Innocence Files focused on Hollman’s case.
At the time, his attorney Amelia Green discussed the situation:
There was irrefutable evidence that Chester was innocent, is innocent and has always been innocent and would never have been wrongfully convicted aside from extraordinary police misconduct. He’s doing the best he can to move forward. He’s an incredibly strong person.
While this is a significant financial settlement, the fact that an innocent man spent almost thirty years in jail will concern many, particularly when other wrongful convictions have been brought to light in recent years, showing patterns of injustice. With this in mind, many will hope that that practices of the police are investigated fully.
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