An American man has been exonerated and freed after serving 44 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Ronnie Long will get $25 million in the second-biggest unfair conviction settlement ever, as per Duke Law school’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic.
Ronnie Long, who is Black, was accused of raping a 54-year-old White lady and sentenced by an all-White jury of rape and thievery in 1976. Long has now settled a common claim with the city of Concord and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation for a total of $25 million, according to a news release from the clinic.
The stifled proof, which included semen tests and fingerprints from the crime location that didn’t match Long, was purposely kept by policing, said in the documenting.
In a statement announcing the settlement, the city stated,
“In the settlement, the City of Concord acknowledges and accepts responsibility for the significant errors in judgment and willful misconduct by previous city employees that led to Long’s wrongful conviction and imprisonment”.
Long wrongly served 44 years, 90 days and 17 days in jail for the crime.
“No amount of money will ever compensate Ronnie Long for the 44 years he spent incarcerated and the indifference of numerous elected officials who fought to keep him incarcerated despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence,” the clinic’s supervising attorney Jamie Lau said in the release.
“While he was in prison his parents passed away; he missed birthdays, graduations, funerals, and other important events that mark a person’s life. He can never get this time back.”
Long’s settlement include $22 million from the city of Concord and $3 million from the North Carolina State Agency of Examination, which he was recently granted.
After Lengthy’s conviction was cleared and he was let out of jail on August 27, 2020, he was informed he would get $750,000 in remuneration paid out at $50,000 every year, the greatest sum conceivable under North Carolina regulation.
“While there are no measures to fully restore to Mr. Long and his family all that was taken from them, through this agreement we are doing everything in our power to right the past wrongs and take responsibility,” the Concord City Council said in a statement.
“We are hopeful this can begin the healing process for Mr. Long and our community, and that together we can move forward while learning valuable lessons and ensuring nothing like this ever happens again.”
Long has since been hanging around with friends and family and bought one of his fantasy vehicles – a Cadillac. According to him, upon his release, he said he and his wife were expecting to purchase a home too.