Former Iowa School Counselor Granted $12M After Wrongly Jailed

An Iowa man wrongfully imprisoned for more than six years won $12 million in a lawsuit he filed against the state last week, the reports Media citizen of Iowa City.

in the 2016, Donald Clark was exonerated and released from prison on false allegations that he sexually abused a student while working as an elementary school counselor. An Iowa district court issued an order vacating Clark’s conviction after it was found that Clark’s public defender was ineffective.

A recent article in reason highlighted the serious flaws in the case against Clark, including the failure of Clark’s attorney to present any character witnesses, possibly take exculpatory photos, or notify Clark of testimony from witnesses who may have testified on his behalf. Clark’s accusers too later attested “that he lied under oath at the criminal trial; that he also lied under oath in an earlier testimony at the criminal trial; and that he knew he was lying under oath when he did.”

The court ruled that Clark was not only not guilty but also “principle of innocence,” a “legally important finding,” according to a press release by Clark’s attorneys at The Spence Law Firm LLC.

Clark served over six years in prison as of 2010.

The jury awarded Clark $8 million for past damages and $4 million for future damages after six days of testimony and just over two hours of deliberation.

“A jury said loudly that if you hurt someone, the state of Iowa must take responsibility. That, to see (Clark) this verdict, was as therapeutic as any amount of money,” said Mel Orchard III, one of Clark’s attorneys press citizen. “But money is of course a necessary part of compensating someone. That amount of money is a drop in the bucket in terms of what they took from him and what they left behind.”

After the verdict, Clark said, “No matter what happens from now on, I am not only free from prison, but also free from the state prison of lies. With this verdict, the rebuilding of my life can continue.”

Orchard also noted the lasting impact prison was having on Clark. “No matter how you believe in your own innocence, your own innocence doesn’t protect you from what prison does to people,” Orchard said said.

The media citizen reached out to the Iowa Attorney General’s office to ask if the state plans to appeal the jury’s decision or seek a retrial. The paper received no response at the time of publication. Former Iowa School Counselor Granted $12M After Wrongly Jailed

Laura Coffey

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