The city of Boston will pay $3.2 million to a man whose wrongful conviction in the shooting of a police officer in 1997 led to the temporary shutdown of the Police Department’s fingerprint unit and sweeping changes in how such evidence is collected and analyzed, says the Boston Globe. Stephan Cowans spent 6 1/2 years in prison after police falsely linked him to a fingerprint left by the man who shot and wounded an officer in a backyard. While behind bars, Cowans contracted hepatitis C and missed his mother’s funeral, before being exonerated by DNA evidence in 2004.
The Cowans award equals what is believed to be the largest amount the city has ever paid in a wrongful conviction case. In the other case, the city agreed to pay $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit by Neil Miller, who served 10 years in prison after being convicted of raping a 19-year-old Emerson College student in 1989 before DNA tests proved another man had committed the crime.