Durham judge tosses misconduct lawsuit against former prosecutor
Posted July 15
Durham, N.C. — A judge in Durham on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed against a former prosecutor, an SBI agent and others involved in the 1999 conviction of a man who pleaded guilty to killing his girlfriend's 2-year-old daughter.
Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson said the three-year statute of limitations had expired in the case of Derrick Michael Allen, who is awaiting a new trial after Hudson overturned his conviction nearly four years ago.
The 35-year-old Allen, who was charged in 1998 with murder and sexual assault, spent more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty under an Alford plea – where a defendant maintains his innocence but admits there is sufficient evidence of guilt.
In 2010, Hudson found that Allen, threatened with the death penalty, was coerced into pleading guilty and that former prosecutor Freda Black and the crime lab analyst decided to stop testing DNA evidence because they believed it might point to someone else for the crime – a finding with which Black has disagreed.
The case was one of 230 that an outside audit found was mishandled by the SBI.
Allen has been out of prison on bond for nearly four years. Attorneys expect a new trial sometime next year.