Man Wrongfully Imprisoned for Rape Wins $1.5 Million in Settlement

How many innocent people are wrongfully imprisoned in the Detroit area?

How much money is 13 years of your life worth?

The answer to the question how many innocent people go to prison in the Detroit area is, too many. One man can tell you that better than anyone. Michael Cristini was put in prison for a crime he never committed.

The “Crime”

It was 1991 when Michael Cristini and Jeffrey Moldowan were arrested, tried, and convicted for a crime neither had committed. Moldowan’s former girlfriend had accused both men of raping her and then dumping her in Detroit.

She claimed their teeth matched the bite marks on her body. Experts were brought in who agreed. Cristini was sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison.

Convictions Were Thrown Out

Eleven years later in 2002, the state Supreme Court threw out Moldowan’s conviction. Two years later, the Macomb County judge threw out Cristini’s conviction. Both men were later tried separately and acquitted.

Wrongfully Imprisoned

While their convictions were thrown out, that was only after the men had spent years in prison.

Then Came the Lawsuits

In 2011, Moldowan received 2.8 million dollars from a settlement with the City of Warren. What wasn’t reported was how much he received in the settlements with the county and Dr. Alan Warnick the Dentist.

Michael Cristini struck the deal with the City of Warren prior to going to trial. It was reported that Cristini was ready to put everything behind him. He received 1.5 million dollars.

There was a lawsuit filed against the woman who accused the men of raping her. However, according to the Detroit Free Press,

A federal appeals court in 2009 said she could not be pursued. Her statements were “critical” in the decision to file charges but “were only part of a broader, independent investigation,” the court said.”

I’m sure both men are excited about the settlements they received, but I’m also sure both men will tell you that their freedom is worth far more.

If you or someone you know is facing a charge from a crime they did not commit, please contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Please call my office at:

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000