Our Results

Selected Issues Litigated in Wrongful Conviction Cases

Ronnie Long vs. City of Concord, SBI et al (Western District of NC):

$25 Million settlement in case involving police misconduct, suppressed evidence.  Mr. Long received a public apology by the City of Concord in connection with his settlement. This is second largest settlement for a single individual in U.S history.

Tim Bridges v. City of Charlotte (Western District of NC):

$9.5 million settlement of wrongful conviction suit involving fabricated forensic evidence and failure to conduct adequate investigation.

Charles Ray Finch v. SBI (Eastern District of NC):

$9.5 million settlement in case in which innocent man was framed for murder through use of a suggestive lineup.

LaMonte Armstrong v. City of Greensboro (Middle District of NC):

$6.4 million settlement of wrongful conviction suit involving fabricated witness testimony and suppressed exculpatory evidence.

Wilcoxson v. Buncombe County (Western District of NC):

$5.125 million settlement of wrongful conviction based upon a guilty plea, to avoid a possible death penalty, resulting from multiple coerced false statements by codefendants.

Floyd Brown v. Isley, et al. (Eastern District of NC):

$9.325 settlement for claims involving wrongful imprisonment of mentally handicapped individual for false confession.

Alan Gell v. Ransome, et al. (Eastern District of NC):

Suit against SBI agents following 9-year wrongful incarceration arising from concealment of exculpatory evidence establishing that murder occurred while Gell was in local jail; $3.9 million settlement.

Dwayne Dail v. City of Goldsboro, et al. (Eastern District of NC):

$7.5 million settlement on claims that City and police department obstructed justice and denied access to the courts by concealing exculpatory evidence, resulting in continued wrongful incarceration. *Chris Olson was a team member

Selected Criminal Trials

State of North Carolina v. Kenan Gay

After a three-week jury trial covered heavily by local and national media, Kenan Gay was acquitted of second-degree murder.  Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf represented Mr. Gay at trial. The defense involved a unique combination of a defense of others and accident. The verdict from the seven women and five men of the jury ended what the judge and attorneys for both sides said was among the most extraordinary murder cases with which they’ve been associated.

State of North Carolina v. Michael Peterson

Following a 5-month trial that was the subject of the award-winning documentary The Staircase, novelist Michael Peterson was convicted of the murder of his wife Kathleen and was sentenced to life without parole. In December 2011, David Rudolf, who had represented Peterson at the trial, filed a motion for a new trial, alleging that the blood spatter evidence used to convict Peterson had been fabricated and misleading. Rudolf represented Peterson at the 2011 hearing on a pro bono basis. The trial judge, after a hearing during which Rudolf called sixteen witnesses, found that the expert had committed perjury at the trial and granted Peterson a new trial.  The case was ultimately settled for time-served.

State of North Carolina v. Carole LaRossa

In a rarely seen plea deal, Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf secured a voluntary manslaughter plea for Carole LaRossa, a woman charged with first-degree murder in the killing of her estranged husband, a former New York City police officer.  In reaching the agreement with prosecutors, Pfeiffer and Rudolf presented a full investigative report highlighting years of psychological abuse, hidden drug use by the victim, and questionable involvement of retired New York City police officers in the investigation by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police.

State of North Carolina v. Rae Carruth

David Rudolf represented Carolina Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth in a nationally publicized trial where Carruth was charged with murder of his pregnant girlfriend and was facing the death penalty. The trial lasted more than three months.  Carruth was found not guilty of murder.  He was convicted of the lesser charge of conspiracy.

United States of America v. Nguyen & Le

Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf represented the husband-and-wife defendants, both naturalized United States citizens who emigrated from Vietnam in 1981, who were indicted for “structuring” – making multiple cash deposits and withdrawals from their bank accounts in amounts under $10,000. Defendants, who spoke little English, testified that they were told they would have to fill out bank forms if they deposited or withdrew $10,000 or more in cash at one time, but did not know that these forms would be sent to the federal government. After a three-day trial, the jury deliberated less than two hours before finding both defendants not guilty of all charges.