Mr. Warney was convicted for killing a man and a woman in Rochester, New York. He was sentenced to twenty-five years to life in prison. He had signed a confession admitting that he killed the man and woman. He later took the position that he was tricked into confessing.
The innocence project at Cardoza Law School represents Mr. Warney. In 2008, after serving nine years of his twenty-five to life prison sentence, DNA evidence excluded Mr. Warney as a suspect of the crime.
Mr. Warney Sues New York State For Compensation
Attorney Peter Newfield brought a lawsuit in the Court of Claims in New York asking for compensation for Mr. Warney, claiming he was wrongfully convicted. The New York statute regarding compensation states that the state is exempt from liability in situations where a defendant “by his own conduct” caused or “brought about his own conviction”. Peter Newfield, Esq., claimed that Douglas Warney confessed due to a inherently coercive interrogation. Mr. Warney, due to his low I.Q., was vulnerable to the pressures brought upon him by the police during his interrogation. It is Attorney Newfield’s position that Mr. Warney was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit.
Lower Court Dismisses Compensation Lawsuit
The initial action for compensation brought by Peter Newfield on Mr. Warney’s request was denied by the Supreme Court. Peter Newfield appealed the conviction and it was again denied by the Appellate Division. Peter Newfield now seeks the Court of Appeals to render a decision allowing his client to sue New York State to collect damages.
Task Force Appointed
A task force has been appointed by Court of Appeals Judge Theodore T. Jones to examine approximately fifty cases where individuals were wrongfully convicted. The task force is due to issue a report showing the role of prosecutors, the courts, police and defendants with regard to these wrongful prosecutions.
At the time of Mr. Warney’s confession, he claims there were eleven pieces of information that provided details concerning the crime by the police. These pieces of information were contained in his confession.
It is now up to the Court of Appeals as to whether Mr. Warney and defendants in similar situations will be able to collect from wrongful convictions based on coerced false confessions.
Individuals charged with crimes are entitled to be represented by counsel. There are two types of crimes in New York, misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanors are lesser crimes and felonies are more serious crimes. Legal representation is important for individuals charged with all types of crimes, whether these crimes involve drug offenses, domestic violence, assault and battery, juvenile matters, shoplifting, burglary, driving while intoxicated, weapons possession, sex crimes or white collar crimes.
Every New Yorker charged with crime is presume innocent until proven guilty. It is defense counsels’ job to aggressively represent their clients. This is what we do! We’ve had excellent results in representing our clients for more than 45 years. Should you, a friend, a family member or loved one be charged with a crime or investigated related to a crime, feel free to call us at 1-800-344-6431, 718-350-2802 or 516-561-6645. Our phones are monitored 24/7.