A North Carolina man who was wrongfully imprisoned for 44 years is set to receive a $25 million settlement, marking the second-largest wrongful conviction settlement in history, as announced by Duke Law School’s Wrongful Conviction Clinic.
Ronnie Long, who is Black, was wrongfully convicted in 1976 by an all-White jury for the rape and burglary of a 54-year-old White woman. His conviction was vacate in 2020 after post-trial disclosures revealed a pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidences. Including semen samples and fingerprints from the crime scene that did not match Long.
Long has reached a civil lawsuit settlement with the city of Concord and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, totaling $25 million. The city of Concord acknowledged responsibility for significant errors in judgment and willful misconduct by previous city employees that led to Long’s wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
A Long Road to Justice
During his 44 years in prison, Long missed important life events. Including the passing of his parents, birthdays, graduations, and funerals. The settlement, while significant, cannot fully compensate for the time he lost. Long had previously been award $3 million from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Ronnie Long’s case highlights the importance of the pursuit of justice. As well as the need for accountability in cases of wrongful conviction. The settlement provides some measure of redress for the years of wrongful imprisonment that he endured.