Jeffrey Deskovic was just 17 when he was convicted of rape and second-degree murder in the 1989 death of Angela Correa, a 15-year-old high school freshman. Deskovic was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. However, in September of 2006, Deskovic was freed after DNA testing exonerated him. After his own ordeal, Deskovic, now 38, is now using $1.5 million from a lawsuit settlement to establish an organization to prevent what happened to him from happening to others, as well as to help exonerees reintegrate into society.
The organization is called the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice. Deskovic said that he was
“putting [his] money where [his] passion is” in starting the not-for-profit organization. “In addition to bringing about exonerations in DNA and non-DNA cases, seeking legislative changes to prevent wrongful conviction and raising awareness, we will also be seeking to help exonerees reintegrate back into society and assisting parolees make a transition to a crime-free life.”
During Deskovic’s trial, jurors knew that the semen found on Correa was not his, as a Westchester County medical examiner testified that the victim could have had sex with someone else before she was assaulted in the woods behind Hillcrest Elementary School. In addition to this claim, prosecutors relied on a false confession by Deskovic to police after hours of interrogation.
Westchester County, New York agreed to pay Deskovic $6.5 million in order to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit against the county and the medical examiner last year. Prior to that, Deskovic settled a wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against New York state for $1.85 million.
Jeffrey Deskovic has a federal lawsuit against Peeksill and Putnam County in New York pending, as police officers from both counties participated in his interrogation.
A special thank you to Jeffrey Deskovic and the countless others who are dedicated to fighting for the cause of justice everywhere. For more information on the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation For Justice, follow this link.