The Los Angeles City Council adopted two motions Tuesday agreeing to pay settlements totaling more than $24 million to two men wrongfully convicted of murder.
Both Bruce Lisker and Kash Register spent most of their adult lives in prison for crimes they did not commit. Lisker was convicted for the murder of his 66-year-old mother in 1983 and spent 26 years in prison before a judge overturned the ruling due to the use of false evidence. The settlement for his civil suit against the LAPD amounted to $7.6 million.
Similarly, Register was convicted of murder in 1979 and was released in 2013 after a key eyewitness's story turned out to be a lie. His settlement is $16.7 million.
“I think this is an important case because Kash is really just the perfect example of what happens when the criminal justice system goes horribly wrong,” said Nick Brustin, one of the attorneys that represented Register in his civil suit.
Attorneys from the Loyola Innocence Project represented Register leading up to his release in 2013 and said that prosecution in the case "did not play by the rules."
Brustin said that Register's case could serve as a model for what happens when players in the criminal justice system don't do the right thing.
“People in positions of responsibility in the city — I haven’t dealt with L.A. very much — really seemed to recognize in this case that there was a real problem, and that this case needed to be resolved if it could," Brustin told KPCC.
Brustin also said he hopes that reform of how L.A. handles identification procedures is spurred from Register's case so that this does not happen to any other people.
“There's a lot of amazing things about Kash; one amazing thing is he’s just not bitter,” Brustin said. “Certainly now he has closure, and he can focus on really rebuilding his life."