A local Houstonian that was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned has reached a settlement with the city of Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle. George Rodriguez will receive $3.1 million in a compromise settlement, according to Mayor Annise Parker. George Rodriguez spent 17 years in a state prison after being wrongfully convicted for the 1987 kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old girl. He was convicted based on faulty evidence from the Houston Police Department Crime Lab.
In 2004, Rodriguez was released after an appellate court held that he was convicted on faulty scientific evidence. According to Barry Scheck of the Innocence Project, this case is the one that spawned the report that detailed the systemic problems at the HPD Crime Lab. After his release, Mr. Rodriguez filed suit against the city of Houston and was awarded $5 million by a jury of his peers in federal court. The jury found the city showed “deliberate indifference” to ongoing problems at the crime lab that led to his false conviction. This verdict came down back in 2009.
As if to add insult to injury, the city appealed the jury’s decision and the saga has dragged on – until now. The announcement on Friday, however, indicates that the parties have agreed to a $3.1 million settlement. According to Mayor Parker, “anyone here who has a heart, who has any compassion at all, owes Mr. Rodriguez an apology.”