It would appear that Fall River’s Shawn Drumgold, 45, (hereinafter the “Defendant”) has clutched defeat out of the jaws of victory. He was once wrongfully convicted of a 1988 Boston murder. He ended up being exonerated and released. He then even won a lawsuit, and a $14 million judgment for said conviction.
That’s where the good news ends.
Yesterday, he was back before the bar of justice…now arrested on drug charges, including possession of a Class A substance with intent to distribute. After pleading “not guilty”, he was released on $500 cash bail.
According to a Boston police report, an informant told police earlier this month that drugs were being sold out of a particular Roxbury. Police raided the apartment on Wednesday, the report states, and recovered several bags of heroin and crack cocaine, as well as $304 cash from the Defendant’s person. He was arrested along with several other suspects, authorities said.
The Defendant had been released in November, 2003 after prosecutors said they believed he was wrongfully convicted because he did not receive a fair trial. In April 2008, a federal jury in Boston ruled that a city police detective violated the Defendant’s civil rights during the investigation by concealing that he gave money to a key prosecution witness before that witness testified in the murder trial. The jury awarded the Defendant $14 million, plus interest, in October 2009.
The Defendant’s current lawyer says that the Defendant has been working as a day laborer but has not received any job training or counseling from the state, which is required by law under the wrongful conviction statute.
”I’m sure that 15 years of demons [in prison] takes a lot of counseling to take care of,” she said.
I have been in the criminal justice trenches for around 25 years. I can tell you that to be able to show your innocence and get out of prison on a murder case is to seriously beat the odds. To have such a thing happen at the behest of the prosecution is basically a miracle.
Indeed, the Defendant’s life seems to be a roller coaster ride. Big highs, big lows.
After all, being found guilty of murder and thrown into prison is a downer for anyone. One can only imagine the horror if you know you are not guilty! How that effects a person I can only imagine.
One can also only imagine the difficulty of trying to rejoin society after such a thing with no training or counseling.
By the way…if you are wondering what happenned to the money he won? He hasn’t gotten it. The Commonwealth is deciding whether to appeal the jury’s verdict.
And yet…while that may be a part of how the Defendant finds himself in this new trouble, the same system which wronged him before will likely not consider these uncomfortable details. Today, he stands simply just another criminal defendant who has been arrested in our crusade against the drug trade.
And who’s job will it be to stand up and demand that the judge and jury remember that he is a human being, not just a “defendant”?
His lawyer. If the Defendant is lucky, she is an experienced attorney. It could make the difference between fair treatment as a human being and another cruel blow of criminal justice fate like he received before.
If you would like to discuss a criminal matter with me, whatever your past, please feel free to call me at t 617-492-3000 for a free consultation.
In the meantime, have a great, safe and a law-abiding weekend!.
To view the original story, and charming photograph about which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/01/man_cleared_in.html?rss_id=Top+Stories