A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Denver authorities filed by a man who spent 28 years in prison for a rape conviction that was later overturned.
Judge Marcia Krieger ruled Monday that Clarence Moses-EL had not shown that the city and various former officials prosecuted him maliciously.
Krieger wrote that Moses-EL’s experience was “horrifyingly unjust” but she said the 2017 lawsuit did not demonstrate a violation of his constitutional rights.
Moses-EL was freed in 2015 after a judge overturned his 1988 conviction on rape and assault charges. Prosecutors retried the case but jurors found him not guilty in 2016.
Colorado’s attorney general announced in February that he would not fight Moses-EL’s claim for $1.9 million under state law granting $70,000 for each year a person is wrongfully held.
Attorney General Phil Weiser said that “although no amount of money can give Mr. Moses-EL back the half of his life that was lost to the Colorado prison system, this compensation will help him and his family recover from this traumatic ordeal.”
Weiser stopped short, however, of saying that Moses-EL was innocent.
“I’ve concluded that the statutory obligation has been met and that the right decision is not to contest this petition and to award the compensation,” Weiser told reporters in February.
The victim in the rape case identified Moses-EL as her attacker, saying his identity came to her in a dream. She continues to maintain that Moses-EL assaulted her.
Colorado Sun staff writer Jesse Paul contributed to this report.
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