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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Mass. man sues state for $1M after serving 27 years in prison

    FILE - James Lucien, right, is embraced Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021, by a family member, left, at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston, after being freed from incarceration. Lucien, who spent more than two decades in prison for a murder conviction that was thrown out by the courts is suing the state for $1 million. Lucien was serving a life sentence in connection to a 1994 fatal shooting when he was released in 2021. (Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via AP, File)

    Boston — A Massachusetts man who spent nearly three decades in prison on a murder conviction that was thrown out by the courts is suing the state for $1 million, the maximum allowed by state law.

    James Lucien, 50, was serving a life sentence in connection with the 1994 fatal shooting of Ryan Edwards, 23, in Boston when he was released in 2021. Lucien was 22 at the time of his arrest.

    Lucien's lawyer, Mark Loevy-Reyes, said his client was wrongfully imprisoned by officers known to the Boston Police Department to be corrupt.

    “He brings the claim against the Commonwealth to obtain some bit of justice,” Loevy-Reyes said in a written statement. “But no amount of money can compensate him for the loss of much of his adult life and for taking him from his friends and family.”

    In the complaint, Lucien’s lawyers argue that corrupt Boston police officials produced false testimony and other tainted evidence, leading to his conviction.

    One of the officers involved in the prosecution of Lucien was later identified by the Suffolk District Attorney's Office as having participated in a sprawling corruption scheme from 1990 to 1996 with other Boston Police officers to lie, rob, and steal from drug dealers by submitting false warrant applications.

    A spokesperson for the Boston Police Department declined to comment Tuesday, citing the pending litigation. A representative of Gov. Maura Healey's administration did not immediately return an email seeking comment Tuesday.

    Loevy-Reyes said he also plans to file a separate federal civil rights complaint against the Boston officers and the City of Boston for an amount of damages to be determined by the jury.

    The years in prison took their toll on Lucien, according to the lawsuit filed Friday.

    Besides the severe trauma of wrongful imprisonment and the plaintiff’s loss of liberty, the investigators' misconduct continues to cause Lucien ongoing health effects, the complaint argued, adding that the publicizing of Lucien’s arrest also had the effect of “permanently negatively impacting his standing in the community.”

    Members of Edwards’s family had opposed Lucien’s release in 2021.

    At the time of his release, Lucien said he'd been waiting decades for his freedom.

    “I feel good because I’m with my family now,” Lucien said after Judge Robert Ullman cleared the convictions against him in Suffolk County Superior Court in 2021. “I’ve been waiting a whole 27 years for this, and now I have the opportunity to be free.”

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