BALTIMORE (WMAR) - A man who spent 21 years in jail after being wrongfully convicted is now getting a big payout from the city who put him behind bars.
On Tuesday, The Baltimore City Board of Estimates agreed to pay James Owens $9 million after he was wrongfully convicted for the murder of a young woman back in 1987. Owens was sentenced to life in prison without parole and spent 21 years in prison for this crime he did not commit.
While this settlement brings a close to a painful part of Owens life, he commented that "No amount of money can give me back the time that I lost."
Owens' settlement will be paid over six fiscal years, but one third will be paid out to Owens by June 30 of this year. This marks one of the largest payouts in the city's history.
Owens was represented by lawyers at Brown, Goldstein & Levy as well as Levin & Curlett in a lawsuit that alleged Baltimore Police homicide detectives failed to disclose exculpatory evidence to Mr. Owens’ criminal defense attorney.
“The American system of justice only works when police reveal all the evidence, even evidence that contradicts their belief regarding who committed a crime,” said Mr. Owens’ co-counsel, Andrew D. Freeman. “This settlement should remind all law enforcement officers of the consequences of failing to turn over exculpatory information.” Co-counsel Charles N. Curlett, Jr. added, “When such misconduct has occurred, prosecutors must then honor their duty to purge the erroneous conviction and provide speedy justice for the wrongly accused.”
Owens' lawyers will be holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon to comment on the settlement reached. WMAR-2 News will be live streaming this conference on our Facebook Page at noon.