$2M Settlement for NJ Man Wrongly Imprisoned for 24 Years
TRENTON — A New Jersey man wrongfully imprisoned for 24 years before having his murder conviction overturned has received a $2 million settlement.
As first reported by John Paff of TransparencyNJ, Jean L. Dorval reached a settlement with the state last year from a lawsuit filed in 2020. The amount was detailed in an unconditional release notarized in April.
His suit has continued against one of the police officers involved in his Union County homicide arrest in the mid-'90s.
Dorval had evidence he was in Georgia during the 1994 killing
At the time that 19-year-old Richard Jerry Myers was killed in Elizabeth on March 20, 1994, Dorval has said he was hundreds of miles away — with a paper trail that included an overnight hotel stay in Georgia and a speeding ticket in South Carolina.
Dorval said that officers had persisted despite that evidence due to “his Haitian ethnicity and because he drove a car similar to the one seen at the shootings,” as Paff reported from the same court papers.
He was convicted at the age of 23 by a jury in 1996 along with two other men — Duquene Pierre and James Louis — and was sentenced to 70 years in prison.
Pierre had the same paper trail as Dorval — South Carolina traffic ticket, a Georgia motel receipt and several phone calls from Florida, where the two men had spent almost a week before returning home, according to a complaint filed in the suit.
Dorval lost his appeals and essentially gave up until Pierre won a new trial, was acquitted and released in 2016, after he had served 22 years in prison.
Dorval’s own conviction was then ultimately overturned in April 2018.
In 2020, after 26 years in prison, Louis was also released, after two witnesses admitted they had lied about his involvement.
$2M settlement with NJ is the second deal stemming from the case
Pierre sued the state after his release. The lawsuit was settled in 2019 for $950,000, according to The National Registry of Exonerations.
Louis filed his own lawsuit last year in Union County Superior Court against police and prosecutors, also seeking compensation for wrongful conviction, the same report said.