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Wrongfully convicted man sues Suffolk County for $55 million

Alfonse M. D'Amato Federal Courthouse in Central Islip
Douglas C. Palmer
Alfonse M. D'Amato Federal Courthouse in Central Islip

A Long Island man who spent 27 years in prison for crimes he didn’t commit is now suing Suffolk County and 10 former officers for $55 million.

Rodolfo Taylor was convicted in 1985 for robbing three gas stations. In January, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney vacated his conviction because prosecutors at the time withheld information about other suspects.

Taylor was released from prison in 2009. After his release, he appealed to the district attorney's office Conviction Integrity Unit to have his case reviewed. According to the officer, most of the witnesses and former officers did not remember or refused to cooperate. Still, a Suffolk County judge overturned the conviction ruling that the failure to hand over records deprived Taylor of his constitutional rights.

Taylor’s lawsuit begins with a quote from Taylor: “I sat in prison while the people closest to me lived their lives and my life stood still.”

He names 10 former detectives, sergeants and officers for false arrest and malicious prosecution.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.