LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) -- Almost a year after walking out of prison, Jeff Clark is hoping his freedom will be permanent after filing a 50-page lawsuit against Metro Government and some employees.
He claims police misconduct and a broken system are to blame for what he calls a wrongful conviction.
Clark was released from prison on bond in August of 2016. At that time a Meade County judge overturned Clark’s murder conviction and ordered a new trial.
"You think about it after so many years. You just don't know if it’s ever going to happen,” Clark said, minutes after being released.
Clark and Keith Hardin were convicted of the brutal murder of Hardin's girlfriend Rhonda Warford in 1995.
Clark has maintained his innocence since the beginning and now he's seeking justice for what he calls a wrongful conviction. The lawsuit claims the conviction "was no accident" and instead the result of "police misconduct."
"People don't understand what it feels like to have your life taken from you," Clark said.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court last week. It claims a detective on the case, Mark Handy, "coerced confessions" from the suspects by lying to them about "evidence against them". Clark did not confess, but this was noted as one of Handy’s techniques.
Handy worked for Louisville City Police at the time and was helping in the Meade County murder case. That's why the lawsuit is filed against Metro Government.
During the re-trial, Edwin Chandler was brought in to testify. The ties between Chandler and Clark run deep, both claim former detective Handy is to blame for their wrongful convictions.
"I was forced to spend time in prison for something that I truly didn't do," Chandler said during the trial.
The lawsuit states Handy fabricated statements while trying to get confessions from the suspects. The lawsuit notes false promises of leniency and threats to their family as some of his techniques.
"He had told me if I was remorseful and I had confessed to this I wouldn't get nothing but five years," Chandler said.
Handy has never agreed to talk to WHAS11 but he had to speak in court.
Answering to the confession Chandler claims Handy forced him to make, Handy said on the stand, "It’s a very long explanation.”
In 2012 Metro Government paid Chandler an $8.5 million settlement after his conviction was overturned.
Now Clark claims he wants his justice, blaming Metro Government for the last 22 years he spent in prison for a crime he maintains he did not commit.
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