Pittsburgh City Council made a unanimous vote to award a wrongfully prosecuted man who served 18 years in prison approximately $3.8 million for loss of revenue and punitive damages.
Thomas Doswell had been found guilty of raping a woman in 1986. He was released in 2005 after new DNA evidence found him innocent. City Councilman Bill Peduto says the money will come from the city’s law department, under it’s settlements. He says they set aside money each year for such cases.
“This case in itself is more than what we set aside for an entire year, and therefore we’re going to need to do it over several years to make that payment.”
The settlement will be split into three $1.26 million payments in the next three years to go to Doswell, his attorney and Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston. Peduto says Allegheny County and the prosecution have immunity from wrongful convictions, making the city liable.
“Three million dollars for 19 years of your life seems pretty low when you think about it,” he says. Peduto says he’s looked into similar cases in the country, and Doswell will be awarded a comparable settlement to others who have been in the same situation.