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Waste of the Day: New York City Paid $87 Million For Wrongful Convictions

New York City, or rather its taxpayers, paid $87 million in FY 2022 to indemnify people wrongfully convicted through overzealous prosecution.

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The City of New York will pay $17.5 million to a man who was wrongly imprisoned for two decades, the largest such settlement ever paid by the city, The New York Times reported.

George Bell was convicted with two other men for the 1996 deaths of the owner of a check-cashing store in East Elmhurst, Queens, and an off-duty police officer who was providing security.

Waste of the Day: New York City Paid $87 Million For Wrongful Convictions
Waste of the Day 11.28.23 by Open the Books

But in 2021, a judge tossed their convictions and scolded prosecutors for withholding evidence and making false statements at trial.

Joseph A. Zayas of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court said the prosecution had “completely abdicated its truth-seeking role in these cases.” Two prosecutors who had overseen the cases and who were still working in the Queens and Nassau County DA’s offices later resigned.

Bell also reached a $4.4 million deal with the State of New York.

The exonerations of the three men came right after Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz took office and created a unit to review cases that might have resulted in wrongful convictions.

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In Fiscal Year 2022, New York City paid $87 million to settle 16 wrongful conviction cases — the most of any single year, according to a report from the city comptroller’s office.

Overzealous prosecutors that aggressively go after supposed bad guys with no regard for the truth harm all the people involved — those behind bars, the victims, both families — and taxpayers who have to pay for their mistakes.

The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com.

This article was originally published by RealClearInvestigations and made available via RealClearWire.

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Adam Andrzejewski (say: Angie-eff-ski) is the CEO/founder of OpenTheBooks.com. Before dedicating his life to public service, Adam co-founded HomePages Directories, a $20 million publishing company (1997-2007). His works have been featured on the BBC, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight, C-SPAN, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, FOX News, CNN, National Public Radio (NPR), Forbes, Newsweek, and many other national media.

Today, OpenTheBooks.com is the largest private repository of U.S. public-sector spending. Mission: post "every dime, online, in real time." In 2022, OpenTheBooks.com captured nearly all public expenditures in the country, including nearly all disclosed federal government spending; 50 of 50 state checkbooks; and 25 million public employee salary and pension records from 50,000 public bodies across America.

The group's aggressive transparency and forensic auditing of government spending has led to the assembly of grand juries, indictments, and successful prosecutions; congressional briefings, hearings, and subpoenas; Government Accountability Office (GAO) audits; Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports; federal legislation; and much more.

Our Honorary Chairman - In Memoriam is U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, MD.

Andrzejewski's federal oversight work was included in the President's Budget To Congress FY2021. The budget cited his organization by name, bullet-pointed their findings, and footnoted/hyperlinked to their report.

Posted on YouTube, Andrzejewski's presentation, The Depth of the Swamp, at the Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar 2020 in Naples, Florida received 3.8 million views.

Andrzejewski has spoken at the Columbia School of Journalism, Harvard Law School and the law schools at Georgetown and George Washington regarding big data journalism. As a senior policy contributor at Forbes, Adam had nearly 20 million pageviews on 206 published investigations. In 2022, investigative fact-finding on Dr. Fauci's finances led to his cancellation at Forbes.

In 2022, Andrzejewski did 473 live television and radio interviews across broadcast, major cable platforms, and radio shows. Andrzejewski is the author of The Waste of the Day column at Real Clear Policy. The column is syndicated by Sinclair Broadcast Group, owners of nearly 200 ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX affiliates across USA.

Andrzejewski lives in Hinsdale, Illinois with his wife Kerry and three daughters. He is a lector at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church and has finished the Chicago Marathon eight times (PR 3:58.49 in 2022).

CATEGORY:Constitution
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