Second Circuit upholds over-$43 million award against Nassau County for police misconduct that framed two innocent men
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed a 2014 jury verdict award to John Restivo and Dennis Halstead. Mr. Restivo and Mr. Halstead were wrongly convicted in 1986 and spent nearly 18 years in prison for a rape and murder DNA later proved they did not commit.
The decision upholds the jury’s finding that Nassau County Detective Joseph Volpe (now deceased) planted evidence against Mr. Restivo and Mr. Halstead and hid evidence of their innocence, causing their wrongful convictions. In a 112 page opinion, the Second Circuit rejected every one of the many arguments Nassau County made to challenge the verdict, and affirmed the over $43 million award—including attorney’s fees, cost, and interest—in full.
In affirming a nearly $5 million attorney fee award, the Second Circuit noted that NSB “has particular experience litigating wrongful conviction suits and has successfully litigated dozens of these cases nationwide,” and that “NSB achieved an excellent result in a particularly complicated case.” The team at Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP included partners Nick Brustin & Anna Benvenutti Hoffmann, who co-led the trial team, associate Alexandra Lampert, and co-counsel Josh Dubin of Dubin Research & Consulting.
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