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$1.95 Million for 18 Years Wrongful Imprisonment in North Carolina

On February 16, 2007, a North Carolina man who spent 18 years in prison for a rape he didn’t commit settled with the State and the City of Winston-Salem for $1,958,454.

Darryl Hunt, a black man, was imprisoned in 1984 for the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes, a young, white, female reporter. In 1994 a DNA test determined that Hunt’s DNA did not match semen found on the dead woman. Nevertheless, Hunt spent another 9 years in prison until the State was finally forced to release him in 2004 after the actual murderer confessed to the crime.

In his subsequent lawsuit, in which he alleged violations of his civil rights, Hunt claimed that Winston-Salem police failed to properly investigate the crime, railroaded him because of his race, and wrongfully detained him for an additional 9 years.

The City of Winston-Salem ultimately issued a report in which it apologized to Hunt and admitted that the actions of those responsible for Hunt’s wrongful imprisonment “fell short of the standards this city holds and espouses.”

Hunt’s settlement included $358,454 from the State of North Carolina and $1,600,000 from the City of Winston Salem.

Hunt, 39 at the time of the settlement, was represented by attorney S. Mark Rabil of Winston-Salem. See: Hunt v. City of Winston-Salem, Forsyth County Superior Court, Case No. Unknown.

Source: The Carolina Verdict Reporter

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Related legal case

Hunt v. City of Winston-Salem