The Law Office of Ronald L. Kuby is deeply proud of our growing list of exonerated clients who were wrongfully convicted, and then released from prison based on post-trial motions litigated by the firm. After exoneration, the firm sues the State of New York for compensatory damages on behalf of the wrongfully convicted client.
The firm’s successes include the cases of Anthony Faison, Charles Shepherd, and Michael Clancy, who each spent over a decade in prison for crimes they did not commit. These men might still be in prison today were it not for the firm’s efforts.The firm also filed lawsuits on behalf of Clarence Braunskill and Lazaro Burt, recovering millions of dollars for its wrongfully convicted clients.
On July 22, 2009, more than twelve years after Michael Clancy’s wrongful conviction, attorneys Ronald L. Kuby and Lea Spiess filed a lawsuit on his behalf, seeking $18,700,000 in damages under New York’s Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act.
The road to Michael Clancy’s vindication was long. In 1999 a Bronx jury found him guilty of the March 30, 1997 murder of John Buono. No forensic evidence tied Mr. Clancy to the crime. He had no criminal record. Two witnesses, strangers to Clancy who saw the killer for no more than three seconds, testified against him.
Clancy maintained his innocence and devoted himself to the arduous task of proving it. In 2007, he retained the firm to file a post-conviction motion on his behalf. On September 20, 2007, after a lengthy investigation, a crucial federal informant gave dramatic testimony in a sealed courtroom proceeding that another man, Andrew DeJesus, had committed the crime. Clancy’s conviction was overturned on April 1, 2008 by the Hon. Denis Boyle, the judge who originally sentenced Clancy to life in prison. Read Judge Boyle’s decision.
The following day, attorneys at the firm went to Rikers Island to greet Clancy, who was finally released after spending eleven years in prison. After further investigation, on February 23, 2009, the Bronx DA’s Office dismissed all charges against Michael Clancy. Andrew DeJesus was indicted for the murder and is currently awaiting trial. Read the New York Times story and the Daily News story.
Click on the links below to read more about the Law Office of Ronald L. Kuby’s efforts to exonerate Michael Clancy.
- Murder Sentence Overturned After Testimony of a Witness, New York Times, April 2, 2008.
- Bronx judge overturns murder conviction of man in jail for 10 years, Daily News, April 2, 2008.
- Bronx man released from Rikers after murder conviction overturned, Daily News, April 3, 2008.
- 10 Years Later, a Claim the Wrong Man Was Convicted of a Bronx Killing, New York Times, November 27, 2007.
Anthony Faison & Charles Shepherd
In 1988, Anthony Faison and Charles Shepherd were wrongfully convicted of the murder of a cab driver in Brooklyn. Both men maintained their innocence, and filed motions and letters for 13 years. Faison wrote an estimated 60,000 letters from his prison cell. In 1999, one of those letters landed on the desk of private investigator Michael Race.
Race reinvestigated the crime, and discovered the name of a perpetrator who had eluded investigators for over a decade. The fingerprints of that individual, Arlet Cheston, were found in the murdered driver’s car. The original eyewitness against the men recanted. Cheston confessed. In 2001, Ronald L. Kuby argued a motion to reverse the convictions. The motion was granted, and Faison and Shepherd were released from prison. Read about their release here.
The firm filed a lawsuit against the State of New York, and recovered $3.3 million for the wrongfully convicted duo.
On January 8, 2002, Arlet Cheston pled guilty to murder in the second degree in connection with the death of the cab driver. He is now serving a 15 years-to-life term of incarceration at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. Read the New York Times story.
In 2001, the firm negotiated a settlement of over $1 million in the wrongful conviction case of Clarence Bruce Braunskill, a 50-year-old Riverhead man who languished in prison for over seven years before being released after new evidence proved his innocence.
Braunskill was convicted in 1990 of two counts of selling cocaine in a Riverhead neighborhood. He was sentenced to a prison term of 20 to 40 years. In 1997, Braunskill’s brother learned the name of the man whom he believed was responsible for the crimes, and approached the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney. District Attorney James Catterson launched his own investigation, which reached the same conclusion: the State sent the wrong man to prison. On April 2, 1997, after serving a total of seven years, two hundred and seventy-four days behind bars, Bruce Braunskill was finally set free. Four years later, in a lawsuit filed by the firm, the State finally compensated Mr. Braunskill for his unjust conviction and incarceration.
The firm obtained a settlement of $775,000 for Lazaro Burt, who was wrongfully convicted of a Queens murder in 1992.
Burt’s conviction was based on the testimony of a single witness who, while admittedly high on crack, misidentified Burt as the killer. The Queens District Attorney reinvestigated the case after the witness recanted her testimony and another eyewitness came forward informing that the actual shooter was not Mr. Burt, but Jarrett Smith. Burt’s conviction was vacated, and, having spent 10 years wrongfully incarcerated, he was finally released in 2002. Jarrett Smith pled guilty to first degree assault.
Our office continues to fight for the exoneration of innocents imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.