DETROIT (WXYZ) — Arbitrators have awarded about $10 million to a Detroit-area man who spent more than 16 years in prison before two murder convictions were overturned.
Mubarez Ahmed insisted he was wrongly convicted of a 2001 double homicide in Detroit. In 2018, the Wayne County prosecutor's office acknowledged that the convictions were fueled by false testimony and other problems.
"The money, sure it’s going to help me go on, but it doesn’t bring back my dead mother, my dead son, my dead brother and I only got to spend seven months with my dad when I came home and he passed away," Ahmed said. "The 18 years I lost out of my daughter’s life. I’d trade the money just to come back and have my family there.”
Ahmed was released from prison in 2018 and subsequently sued Detroit police, saying his rights were violated. Ahmed's convictions were investigated by private eye Scott Lewis and the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan law school.
"There are a lot more cases out there and more coming.”
“In the early 2000s, the federal government took over the police department under consent judgment because of misconduct in the Homicide department. There are a lot more cases out there and more coming,” said Ahmed's attorney Wolf Mueller said.
Mueller said it's also not just a Detroit problem. According to the National Registry of Exonerations, those wrongfully convicted in the U.S. have lost nearly 25,000 years. Just today, the Michigan attorney general announced millions more being set aside by the state to pay for these cases after money ran dry.
“We allocate money to risk management to cover various lawsuits and settlements,” said Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield. “Anytime you’re talking about huge million-dollar settlements, of course, it will have an impact on our budget.”
On the city council, Sheffield is among those paying close watch to this disturbing trend, and acknowledging the impact on taxpayers footing the bill.
“The more they wait, they risk a big jury verdict of $100 million, and more taxpayers are on the hook,” Mueller added.
The City of Detroit declined to comment on Ahmed's case, one resolved without any celebrations.
“It’s a hollow victory," Mueller said. "Thy only way our system allows us to compensate someone is with money. But, you can’t get back the harm done. The fact the family of the victim doesn’t have closure.”
More conviction integrity units are being started throughout Michigan, including one in Oakland County.