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Confidential Settlement Reached in Wrongful Conviction Case

October 17, 2013

The City of Council Bluffs, Iowa this week settled a lawsuit brought by two men who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 25 years. The lawsuit, brought by Terry Harrington and Curtis McGhee, was scheduled for retrial this week. The original trial ended in mistrial in December 2012 after jurors disagreed on the verdict.

Harrington and McGhee were convicted for the 1977 shooting death of John Schweer, a retired police captain who was working as a security guard for Council Bluffs car dealerships. Harrington and McGhee were released in 2003 after the Iowa Supreme Court found the prosecutors committed misconduct by hiding evidence that could have helped them in their 1978 trials.

Following their release, Pottawattamie County agreed to pay Harrington and McGhee $12 million in 2010 to settle claims against two former prosecutors. The recent settlement resolved a lawsuit the men brought against the City of Council Bluffs and two retired city police detectives who were alleged to have coerced witnesses into fabricating testimony against the men. The trial was to focus on the issue of whether the detectives manufactured, coerced or fabricated false evidence against Harrington and McGhee and knowingly used it against them at their murder trials.

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