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Innocent California Prisoner Freed After Nine Years; Paid $1 Million

An innocent man sentenced in 1995 to 27 years for raping and kidnapping a 13-year-old girl was freed by the California Innocence Project after serving 3,280 days in prison. In his subsequent suit for wrongful incarceration, he received $1 million in a settlement with the city, county and state governments whose actions caused his false conviction.

Peter Rose, then 27, was convicted on sparse testimony taken from the 13-year-old victim. She was not able to identify her attacker other than to say that he wore dark pants, a bandana and dark shoes. She stated he had punched her in the face, dragged her into an alleyway, and raped her.
But under recent California law, Rose was able to reopen his case in 2003 by requesting DNA testing, a technology not available at trial. It turned out that the semen found in the victim’s undergarments did not match Rose at all. Counsel from the Innocence Project also argued that the state’s crime lab had violated protocol when testing hair and fluid evidence at trial. Additionally, counsel alleged that Rose’s public defender was incompetent in Rose’s defense. Rose was exonerated and released.

He sued in San Joaquin Superior Court for violating his civil rights for false imprisonment. In February 2007, a $1 million settlement was reached, with $75,000 going to each of Rose’s three children. The City of Lodi paid $625,000, San Joaquin County paid $275,000 and the state of California paid the remaining $100,000. Rose was represented by Sacramento attorney Mark Merin. See: Rose v. California, San Joaquin Superior Court No. CV028475.

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Related legal case

Rose v. California