Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Court of Claims Act
Wrongful Imprisonment — Inculpatory Statements
Gristwood v. State of New York
Appealed from Court of Claims
Background: The claimant commenced an action for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. The claimant was convicted of attempted murder and criminal possession of a weapon following an assault upon his wife. The only evidence linking him to the crime was an inculpatory statement he made to the police. Otherwise, he had maintained his innocence. The defendant appealed from a judgment that awarded the claimant damages.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. The court held that the claimant had demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that he did not commit the offense charged. The claimant provided statements of someone who came forward that were amply corroborated by other evidence. There was no other evidence presented that linked the claimant to the crime. Finally, his inculpatory statement did not rebut the claimant’s evidence as a coerced confession does not bar recovery under the Court of Claims Act.
Robert M. Goldfarb of the New York State Office of the Attorney General for the defendant-appellant; Patricia A. Lynn-Ford of the Lynn Law Firm for the claimant-respondent