The city of Boston has spent nearly $600,000 on lawyers to fight a lawsuit filed by a man wrongly convicted and imprisoned after Boston police concluded he fatally shot a 12-year-old girl. Shawn Drumgold spent 15 years in prison before the Suffolk district attorney’s office acknowledged possible misconduct by police and prosecutors; a judge overturned his conviction, saying “justice was not done” and the “system had failed.” Drumgold was freed in 2003 after the Globe reported that police paid one witness and dropped charges against that witness, and that police didn’t tell defense lawyers that a second witness had a fatal brain tumor that could have affected her memory. A third witness said police coerced her testimony.
Boston police have never said that they believe Drumgold was innocent. Spending in the Drumgold case is far greater than in two other wrongful conviction cases that the city settled last year. It agreed to pay $3.2 million to Stephan Cowans after spending about $36,000 on outside counsel on the lawsuit.