October 09, 2019
Mark Schand was awarded $27 million by a federal jury for having served 27 years for a murder he didn't commit.
Mark Schand spent 27 years of his life behind bars for a murder he didn't commit.
Now, a federal court has decided that he merited compensation for the miscarriage of justice he'd fallen victim to.
Mark was accused and convicted of the murder of a bystander in a nightclub shooting in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1987.
Even though it was proved in court that Mark's conviction had been obtained by shady means, including hiding exculpatory evidence from his defense lawyer, Mark had to fight for the minimum compensation from the DA - $450,000, minus attorneys' fees - but no apology was forthcoming for the loss of nearly 3 decades of his life.
Two years after his release, Mark decided to go ahead with a case against the city of Springfield and four police officers for violating his civil rights. The case against the city was denied, but Schand was permitted to sue retired officers Elmer McMahon, Leonard Scammons, Raymond Muise and Michael Reid.
Mark's legal team was able to prove that the officers had "unduly suggestive" techniques when identifying him as a suspect and even manufactured evidence to help bolster their circumstantial case.
At the end of their deliberations, the jury decided to attribute $1 million compensation for every year Mark spent in prison.
Heather McDevitt, one of Schand's attorneys, said:
"What are 27 years of a person's life worth? That is a very interesting philosophical question. There are experiences that can never be recreated. There is the pain and suffering and subjection to violence and isolation and loneliness."
Money can never buy back Marl Schand's lost youth wasted behind bars, but it may help may his next 27 years a lot more comfortable.
Mark Schand, and dozens more wrongly convicted men and women can thank Centurion Ministeries for their freedom.
Centurion was the first organization to dedicate itself to helping maen and women who imprisoned for crimes they didn't commit to regaining their freedom.
Since 1983, Centurion was instrumental in freeing 63 men and women who were serving life or death sentences for crimes they did not commit.
Every year Centurion receives 1,500 new requests for help, and is currently investigating 150 cases of wrongful conviction.
There are many men and women like Mark Schand languishing in prison, and we hope they will receive the justice they deserve.