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Two Million Per Year
From El Diario
July 12, 2002

By Gloria Medina

The new lawyer for Angelo Martínez, who had been wrongly convicted of a crime he did not commit, reported that his client is suing the state of New York for $50 million for unjustly sentencing him to 25 years in prison.

"The lawsuit asks that the sentence be reduced so that Martínez may be released immediately," said Oscar Michelen, the defense attorney. (Martinez was released July 22.)

The lawsuit was filed in state court on June 24, eleven days after Judge Steven Fisher dropped the charges against Martínez and almost one year after the district attorney’s office reopened the case.

Martínez, who is now 36 years old, was convicted of fatally shooting 70-year-old Rudolph Marasco on April 10, 1985 and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

While Martínez was serving his prison term, Charles Rivera, a federal inmate who was under the witness protection program, confessed in 1991 to killing Marasco as a favor for another person. But the authorities ignored his statement when he failed a lie detector test.

In 1993, Martínez was indicted for distributing drugs within the correctional facility and sentenced to an additional 292 months in jail, to be completed after he finished his earlier term. Although Martínez was exonerated of the murder charge on June 13 of this year, he was held on the federal drug charges until July.

According to court papers, Martínez said he had been found guilty on false evidence, and neither his initial defense attorney nor the district attorney’s office made an effort to undo the injustice after the real murderer had confessed.

"We are not saying that the district attorney’s office withheld evidence or unjustly caused this conviction," said Michelen. "But we are saying that the D.A.’s office could have done more with the information they had."

Translated from Spanish by Naomi Lim

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