Update: Since this episode was recorded Fred Clay was awarded a $1 million settlement from the state, the highest amount allowed under Massachusetts state law.
The settlement with the Massachusetts Attorney General was finalized Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, the same courthouse where Clay’s conviction was vacated in 2017 and his freedom granted at age 53.
In 1981, at only 16-years-old, Frederick Claywas arrested, charged as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder. In August 2017, a Suffolk Superior Court judge exonerated Clay based on new evidence that revealed he had been misidentified. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting(NECIR)and WGBH co-published a four-part seriesfor radio by Chris Burrell about Clay, who spent 38 years in prison for a crime he did not commit
The four-part series largely focuses on Clay’s life post-exoneration, which has been met with many challenges. Without any support from the state, Clay has struggled with emotional trauma and finding a good-paying job and affordable housing. As Burrell writes, Clay’s newly-won freedom has become“astruggle for basic survival.”
Read/listen to parts 1 and 2 of the series hereand parts 3 and 4 of the series here.
Research in these cases from The Brennan Center for Justice and New York University Law School and the Innocence Project.