All You Need To Know About The Ronnie Long Case

According to his attorneys on Tuesday, Ronnie Long, a Black man who was wrongfully convicted of raping a White woman in the 1970s and served 44 years in jail, has settled with the state of North Carolina and a city in the state’s central region.

All You Need To Know About The Ronnie Long Case

After an all-White jury in Cabarrus County, Concord, found him guilty of breaking into a house and raping Sarah Judson Bost, then 54, at knifepoint on the evening of April 25, 1976, Long, now 68, was given two life terms. It was Long’s 21st birthday.

Long, however, denied committing the offences, and in August 2020, a federal appeals court granted him a fresh hearing to pursue relief.

Long’s conviction was overturned almost instantly, and he was allowed to leave prison. Later that year, Governor Roy Cooper fully pardoned him on the grounds of his innocence.

Attorneys for Long, who work for a Duke University law school wrongful convictions clinic, claimed that there was no tangible evidence linking Long to the rape and burglary and that over 40 fingerprints that were taken from the scene were never released because they did not match Long. Additionally, the defence was never given access to semen samples.

Additionally, according to Duke Law, his lawyers claimed that the county sheriff and head of police had mysteriously eliminated almost all of the Black possible jurors from the pool before summonses were sent out.

A few months later, Long was given $750,000 by a state panel, which is the maximum amount of money the state may provide victims of wrongful incarceration. He subsequently filed a lawsuit in federal court in Raleigh, claiming, among other things, that Concord police officers had engaged in “extraordinary misconduct” that resulted in his false conviction and detention, which violated his constitutional rights.

Currently, $22 million of the settlement will be paid by the city of Concord, which is situated roughly 25 miles northeast of Charlotte. According to a news release from Long’s lawsuit attorneys, as part of the settlement, the State Bureau of Investigation will also pay $3 million to Long for its part in “hiding evidence from Mr. Long and his legal team that proved his innocence.” The Associated Press reports this information.

“We are deeply remorseful for the past wrongs that caused tremendous harm to Mr Long, his family, friends, and our community,” the city’s statement read. “While there are no measures to fully restore to Mr. Long and his family all that was taken from them, through this agreement we are doing everything in our power to right the past wrongs and take responsibility.”

The entire $25 million payout is the highest in North Carolina’s history for wrongful convictions.

The city’s statement, according to Long’s attorneys, was crucial to their client.

“This result speaks to the magnitude of injustice that occurred in Mr. Long’s case,” said Chris Olson, one of his lawyers in the lawsuit, adding the “apology goes a long way in helping Mr. Long heal.”

“Have we found justice in this case? Absolutely not,” Jamie Lau, Long’s criminal attorney, said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail.

No amount of money will ever compensate Ronnie for all that he lost, but this is a big step forward for him.”

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