After spending 28 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit, Clarence Moses-El is preparing to launch a lawsuit against the City of Denver.
Acquitted by a jury of rape and assault last year, Moses-El accuses Denver of malicious prosecution, destruction of evidence, manufacturing false evidence, mishandling evidence, conspiracy to violate his civil rights and fundamental unfairness of prosecution, according to The Denver Post.
Denver has, over the course of the past three years, spent over $19 million to settle claims levied against its police and sheriff’s departments.
A spokeswoman for the city, Jenna Espinoza, says Moses-El and his attorneys have yet to lodge the proper paperwork.
“Once we receive the complaint, we will evaluate the claims and respond to them,” explained Espinoza.
The Denver Post writes that Moses-El was convicted of raping and beating a neighbor in 1987. Only after two trials did a jury determine last year that he wasn’t guilty of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault, and second-degree burglary.
Moses-El, for his part, had maintained innocence from the day of his arrest. Saying the victim had falsely identified him, he refused three separate plea bargains.
While incarcerated, Moses-El petitioned his fellow inmates for help. With their assistance, he managed to raise $1,000 to pay for DNA testing – shortly afterward, police mistakenly destroyed evidence which could have exonerated him.
The 98-page lawsuit, which has yet to be filed, details the entirety of the ordeal undergone by Moses-El. It also names a perpetrator – a man referred to as LC Jackson. In 1987, Jackson had confessed to the crime, saying he’d been drinking with the victim on the night of her rape.
“I really don’t know what to say to you,” Jackson wrote to the then-incarcerated Moses-El. “But let’s start by bringing what was done in the dark into the light. I have a lot on my heart.
“I don’t know who working on this, but have them come up and see me. It’s time. I’ll be waiting.”
Moses-El was briefly released from jail after Jackson made a verbal confession to the crime.
But, after he recanted his statement, police backed off, focusing their attention on Moses-El.
Among the defendants listed in the suit are former prosecutors and police officers in or formerly under the employ of the City of Denver, as well as various law enforcement specialists and the city itself.
The filing explicitly lists LC Jackson as the perpetrator of the crime Moses-El was sentenced for, and blames the city for “leaving him on the street” to commit more crimes, including another rape in 1992.