11/05/13 — City, Dail settle civil case

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City, Dail settle civil case

By From staff reports
Published in News on November 5, 2013 1:46 PM

Dwayne Dail

The city of Goldsboro has agreed in principle to settle out of court with Dwayne Dail, who was exonerated of rape in 2007 after spending 18 years in prison, City Manager Scott Stevens said Monday night.

Dail was convicted in 1987 in Wayne County Superior Court of raping a 12-year-old girl in the city based on evidence provided by the city Police Department.

He was 19 years old at the time.

DNA tests eventually proved he was not guilty and the state paid him $368,000 to compensate him for his years behind bars.

Dail, who had maintained his innocence since he was first accused, later sued the city for negligence and for violating his civil rights. The civil trial was expected to begin this month in federal court.

After discussions in closed session with the city attorney, the City Council voted Monday to give Stevens the authority to sign the agreement.

The terms of the settlement were not immediately released. They will not be disclosed until the settlement has been signed, Stevens said.

The Council approved the deal after coming out of the closed session.

In the lawsuit, Dail accused the city, specifically the Goldsboro Police Department, including two police chiefs and several officers, of violating his constitutional rights.

Evidence used to obtain the DNA samples that eventually cleared Dail was thought to have been destroyed after his conviction. But the items had been saved by an investigator in the Police Department's evidence locker, and after nearly two decades, were made available to Dail's defense team.

Officials with the North Carolina Innocence Project and the state Center on Actual Innocence took the evidence and proved Dail could not have committed the crime because the DNA evidence did not match. Dail was freed and exonerated by the governor.

Another man, William Neal, was later convicted and sent to prison for committing the crime.