Local News

Durham judge tosses misconduct lawsuit against former prosecutor

Posted July 15

— 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.

3 Comments

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  • Lightfoot3 Jul 16, 2:12 p.m.

    "an Alford plea – where a defendant maintains his innocence but admits there is sufficient evidence of guilt" - article


    How messed up is that?! Nothing to do with what really happened, but rather what a jury can be convinced happened.


    There should be NO statute of limitations against DA/police/etc. corruption.

  • scubagirl2 Jul 16, 1:36 p.m.

    actually for something like this I don't think there SHOULD be a statute of limitations. Especially in situations involving a trial/conviction

  • Bealzebub Jul 15, 7:09 p.m.

    There needs to be a longer statute of limitations. It's one thing to prosecute using the evidence you have, none of us are infallible, but another to ignore the evidence, make up evidence and generally try to rig the system. With all the death row exonerations and the prosecutorial misconduct and crime lab bumbling, there needs to be a way for falsly convicted officials to sue and for prosecutors and others law enforcement branches to be held accountable not so much for honest mistakes but deliberate misconduct.