In June 1994, a woman was attacked and raped in Jackson Heights, New York.
Lee Long, who matched the description of the attacker given by the victim, was picked up by police later that evening as he was walking home from the train station eating strawberry ice cream.
Long was identified by the victim, based primarily on his clothing. Long claimed that he was at his girlfriend’s residence having dinner at the time of the rape. The police confirmed this alibi with his girlfriend immediately after his arrest, but the prosecution failed to reveal this to the defense.
In April 1995, a jury convicted Long of rape and robbery, and he was sentenced to 8-to-24 years in prison.
After Long’s conviction, an investigation by the Queen's County Legal Aid Society and the Queens County District Attorney's Office discovered that the police had failed to turn over the report confirming Long’s alibi. Long’s attorney filed a motion to vacate the conviction and dismiss the indictment based on the newly discovered evidence.
In June 2000, the motion was granted and Long was released.
Long retained the law firm of Cochran, Scheck & Neufeld to file a claim with the New York Court of Claims. That law suit, however, was dismissed for procedural reasons. Long subsequently sued the law firm for malpractice and the case was settled for $900,000. Long also settled a separate lawsuit against the city of New York for $50,000.
– Stephanie Denzel