Florida death-row exoneree Robert DuBoise (pictured) will receive $14 million from the city of Tampa as compensation for the 37 years he was incarcerated for a rape and murder he did not commit. On February 15, 2024, the Tampa City Council unanimously voted to approve the settlement. The settlement resolved a 2021 suit Mr. DuBoise filed against the City of Tampa, four Tampa police officers, and the forensic odontologist who testified against him. The suit alleged that the officers and odontologist conspired to present fabricated evidence against Mr. DuBoise and that the officers also conspired with jailhouse informant Claude Butler to falsely testify against Mr. DuBoise. 

Mr. DuBoise was exonerated in 2020 after DNA testing pointed to two other perpetrators. After the settlement was approved, Mr. DuBoise told CNN, “I spent 37 years imprisoned for a crime I was totally innocent. This is what happens when the police focus on the wrong person, make up evidence to fit their theory and don’t investigate to find the truth. Lives are ruined and communities are less safe.” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said, “The credibility of our criminal justice system requires scrupulous accuracy and adherence to the highest investigation standards. Today’s Tampa Police Department is light years ahead of where we were four decades ago in technology and training. We hope this settlement helps Mr. DuBoise in his healing.”

Other exonerees have also received significant settlements when official misconduct contributed to their wrongful convictions, creating a hidden category of costs in the death penalty system. In May 2021, a federal jury in North Carolina awarded intellectually disabled death-row exonerees Henry McCollum and Leon Brown $75 million dollars for the wrongful imprisonment stemming from their convictions and death sentences in the 1983 rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl. No physical evidence linked the brothers to the murder, but they were convicted on the basis of false confessions extracted by coercive police interrogations. In May 2020, the city of Cleveland agreed to pay $18 million dollars to settle a civil rights lawsuit by three former death-row prisoners who, as a result of police misconduct, spent more than a combined 80 years imprisoned for a murder they did not commit. In 2018, Gage County, Nebraska raised property taxes to cover a civil judgment in the case of the “Beatrice Six,” who were wrongfully convicted after being threatened with the death penalty. A jury awarded the exonerees $28.1 million, which exceeded the small county’s entire annual budget.