Insurers for the Robeson County (North Carolina) Sheriff’s Office are forking over $9 million for the role of two former officers in the wrongful convictions of two intellectually disabled men in 1983. The men were exonerated of involvement in a murder by DNA evidence in 2014. Not surprisingly, their lawyers have demanded and obtained compensation for the three decades on death row. (Note: in a state like Texas, the men might have been executed before their innocence was proven.)
The DNA evidence linked the murder to another man who lived next door to where the victim was found.
Police coerced wrongful “confessions” from the two men, then teens, which were the basis for the original conviction. The two men became suspects due to a “rumor” that they had been involved in the crime.
The town of Red Springs agreed to pay $1 million to settle its role in this case in 2017.
There is still a trial pending against the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations and two of its former officers who were also involved in this screw-up.
Let’s be clear. While the Robeson County attorney was quick to point out that insurers are paying the settlement, the County will pay increased rates for insurance in the future. Ultimately, the settlement is being paid by taxpayers.
How much of your taxes are going to pay for misconduct? Odds are, you don’t know. I’m also willing to bet that you wouldn’t be pleased with the answer.