A New York man who spent 9 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, watching every relationship he held dear fall to pieces, has finally gotten the legal recognition that he was falsely imprisoned.
For Daniel Gristwood, the nightmare started when he was accused of the attempted second-degree murder of his wife, which left her brain damaged and unable to care for their kids.
Police had locked Gristwood in an interrogation room for 15 hours, had threatened him with evidence that they didn’t have, and told him that the only way he would ever be able to see his wife and children again is if he cut a deal and confessed to the crime.
He did end up confessing, and served 9 of his up-to-25-year sentence before evidence (including a confession) was found successfully linking a different individual to the crime.
Gristwood was released, but the damage was done. His life was forever damaged. His partially-paralyzed wife had divorced him, his children had moved in with relatives since his wife could no longer care for them, and his relationship with almost every single family member was completely destroyed.
Gristwood, who at the time of his arrest had no criminal record whatsoever, had gone from hard-working, beloved family man to ostracized criminal in a matter of days. After being released and finding out just how badly his life outside had turned during his time behind bars, he sought damages from the state of New York, and was recently awarded $5.5 million.
The award was given to him in a unanimous decision by the Fourth Department of the Appellate Division. Gristwood was awarded $2.7m for loss of liberty, $1.9m for psychological injuries, and another $0.9m in interest charges for the court delay.