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Wrongful Imprisonment

Billings, MT: (Jan-13-08) Jim Bromgard, a former Billings resident, brought a wrongful imprisonment and conviction lawsuit against the state, alleging that he spent more than 15 years in prison over rape charges. The suit stated that Bromgard was convicted in 1987 of raping a child in Billings, and a judge sentenced him to 40 years in prison. He served 15 years before DNA tests showed he didn't commit the crime. In recent developments in the case, records showed that Bromgard was exonerated and released from prison in 2002. He sued in 2004, seeking $16.5 million, naming the state; Mike Greely, former attorney general; Arnold Melnikoff, former state crime lab director; Yellowstone County, and Commissioners Jim Reno, Bill Kennedy and John Ostlund as defendants.

Bromgard alleged that the state and Melnikoff were negligent. Melnikoff's testimony at trial on hair comparisons helped convict Bromgard, but his work was later discredited by national forensic experts. As part of a settlement reached, the state agreed to pay Bromgard $3.5 million to resolve the lawsuit. [SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: WRONGFUL CONVICTION]

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Published on Jan-14-08


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It has greatly hindered me in finding employment as well as my personal life. I would also like to know if I can sue the state for unlawful imprisonment. I served ten months for a crime that I did not commit.


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