New York City is doubling down its efforts to stop Alan Newton, who spent 22 years behind bars for a rape he didn't commit, from collecting the $18 million verdict a jury awarded him in 2010, reports the New York Daily News. “This is a journey that started in 1984, and it's still going on because the city refuses to take any responsibility,” Newton said. Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin set aside the jury verdict in 2011, arguing Newton wasn't entitled to the money because the city didn't violate his civil rights. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Scheindlin's decision last Feb. 26. The city tried to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused this month to hear it.
The city still is refusing to pay up. The city Law Department claims in new court papers that the Second Circuit didn’t weigh “whether the amount of the damages was appropriate” and “did not address the question whether the separate verdict on damages was excessive.” All the appeals court did was decide whether the city was at fault for Newton's wrongful incarceration, the city lawyers argue, and they now want Scheindlin to reduce the award. Newton said the city's efforts feel like an extension of an ordeal that began over 30 years ago, when he was arrested and then convicted of raping a woman in abandoned Bronx building and slashing her in the face with a razor. The victim had picked him out of a lineup, but DNA testing later provided his innocence. Newton said he was willing to take $5 million, but the city refused and offered $1 million.