San Jose pays wrongfully convicted man record $12M

A man who was wrongfully convicted of attempted murder in San Jose and spent 17 years behind bars is getting a record $12 million from the city.

Lionel Rubalcava was released from prison in May 2019 after the Northern California Innocence Project spent five years disproving testimony that he pulled the trigger in a drive-by shooting in 2002.

He then sued three San Jose police officers, accusing them of ignoring evidence of his innocence.

Rubalcava's attorney, Nick Brustin, said on Tuesday that the settlement is an acknowledgment of the officers' misconduct.

"This wasn't an isolated incident of one officer making a mistake," Brustin said. "They should have known, or did know, that Lionel was innocent." 

The Bay Area News Group reported that this is the largest payout for a police misconduct claim in San Jose's history.