DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s attorney general is fighting a claim for $1.9 million in compensation filed by a man who spent 28 years in prison for a rape conviction that was eventually overturned.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said Friday that Clarence Moses-EL’s case may not meet the requirements of Colorado’s Exoneration Act because while he was acquitted in a 2016 retrial, DNA evidence in the case was destroyed so there’s no way to know if he’s actually innocent.
The victim of the brutal assault and rape identified Moses-EL as her attacker in 1987 and recently told representatives from the attorney general’s office that she still believes that to be the case, Coffman said.
“After much consideration, and based both on the Denver District Attorney’s Office’s case against Moses-EL and the review conducted by my office in preparation of this reply, I cannot in good conscience tell the victim that the state will voluntarily pay nearly 2 million dollars of taxpayer money to the man she has steadfastly identified as her attacker,” Coffman wrote.
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The exoneration act, passed in 2013, provides $70,000 for each year a person is wrongfully incarcerated.
The Denver Post reports a state court will determine whether Moses-EL is actually innocent.
Moses-EL has also filed a lawsuit against the City of Denver in December alleging malicious prosecution, destruction and fabrication of evidence and other claims.