A man who spent 15 years in prison for a Brooklyn, N.Y., murder he did not commit agreed to a $3 million settlement with New York State, one of the largest such settlements in recent history, reports the New York Times. The settlement for Jabbar Collins is among a wave the state is expected to face. In Brooklyn alone, the convictions of seven men have been vacated this year, after the district attorney there began examining 90 troubled convictions. Filing claims against the state and the city is standard practice after a vacated conviction.
Collins was convicted of killing a rabbi in 1994. He always claimed he was innocent, and, while in prison, began researching the law and his case, filing records requests and appeals from behind bars and interviewing witnesses. Freed in 2010, Collins, 42, joined his lawyer’s firm as a paralegal. He sued the state in 2011 under the Unjust Conviction Act. This year, Martin Tankleff, who served 17 years in prison for the murder of his parents before his conviction was overturned, got $3.3 million under the act. State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, proposed in February to amend that act so that people who falsely confessed or who pleaded guilty — not just people who were convicted — but who were later exonerated could also sue the state. Since 2000, the attorney general's office has settled 66 wrongful-conviction claims; the Collins settlement is the seventh largest.