A Maryland board approved a $340,000 settlement Wednesday for a man wrongfully convicted of first-degree murder.
Demetrius Smith’s compensation comes after he spent more than five years in prison, including one year after he was proven innocent, according to CBS News.
Maryland apologizes to man wrongly convicted of murder, agrees to pay $340,000 settlement: “Long overdue” https://t.co/HKOAmCVuVK
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Maryland Gov. Wes Moore apologized to Smith, who attended the hearing, the outlet reported. The governor — who chairs the three-person Board of Public Works, which approved the settlement — emphasized that it has been more than a decade since Smith’s release in 2013.
“We’re here today more than 10 years after he was released from incarceration, providing Mr. Smith with long overdue justice that he was deprived of, an apology from the state of Maryland that until today he’s never received,” Moore said.
Moore claimed that Smith was initially convicted because “the prosecution was determined to press forward, relying on testimony from a witness who was later found to have not ever been at the scene of the crime,” the outlet reported. (Man Released From Jail After 32 Years For Murder He Didn’t Commit)
Smith was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, plus 18 years, in 2010, per CBS.
The suspect who actually committed the murder was convicted in 2011, but Smith’s conviction was not dropped until 2012, according to the outlet.
Two months after his initial arrest, Smith was arrested for first-degree assault while out on bail, the outlet reported. In that case, prosecutors relied on witnesses who later renounced their testimony, the governor said, per the outlet. Smith entered an Alford plea for the assault charge, maintaining his innocence while acknowledging that a trial would likely result in his conviction, CBC noted.
“I am deeply sorry for the fact that our justice system failed you not once, but our justice system failed you twice,” Moore said, according to CBS. “And while no amount of money can make up for what was taken from you, the action this board is taking today represents a formal acknowledgment from the state for the injustice that was caused.”