Clarence Moses-El files lawsuit against City of Denver for wrongful conviction

DENVER -- A man who spent nearly three decades in prison for a crime he didn't commit has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Denver Police Department and former Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.

Clarence Moses-El was accused of sexual assault in 1987 despite a lack of physical evidence. He was retried and freed last year.

Moses-El and his attorney believe his rights were violated and the lawsuit will bring justice to the wrongful incarceration.

"How do you value 28 years of a man's life? Nothing can make up for that, no amount of money can bring him back those years," attorney Eric Klein said.

"We hope for some degree of compensation for what he suffered and to also hold people accountable for what was done to him."

Moses-El was arrested for sexually assaulting and beating his neighbor.

"It just started off as a simple day that turned into a nightmare in a matter of seconds. That was the last time I saw society, saw my son," Moses-El said.

Moses-El was convicted despite no physical evidence. The victim named him after having a dream he was her attacker.

"Crazy is just another word for living hell. That's what I went through," Moses-El said.

He worked on clearing his name from the inside, raising money from inmates for a DNA test. But the evidence that could have freed him had been destroyed.

"It could have freed me so many years earlier. I wouldn't have been traumatized as much but the trauma made me fight even more," Moses-El said.

Years later, another man confessed and Moses-El was tried again for the crime and found not guilty.

Now, Moses-El and his attorneys have a long road ahead in hopes of winning a civil lawsuit and preventing more wrongful convictions.

"I'm looking for justice out of the injustice that was done," he said.

The city declined to comment.