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Krivak Suing Putnam County for $150M

Andrew Krivak was greeted by family, friends, his legal team and other supporters in December 2020 at the Putnam County Correctional Facility in Carmel as he stepped out of jail a free man for the first time in 24 years. Photo by Holly Crocco.

Following his exoneration earlier this year, Andrew Krivak is suing the county and the state, seeking compensation for the more than two decades he spent “wrongfully imprisoned” for the killing of a 12-year-old girl in Patterson in 1994.

Krivak filed a claim March 30 seeking $100 million in compensation and $50 million in punitive damages against Putnam County and its district attorney’s office, including D.A. Robert Tendy, and the sheriff’s department, including individual sheriff’s investigators.

A separate claim filed April 3 seeks $50 million from the state’s Unjust Conviction and Imprisonment Act.

Krivak was convicted alongside Anthony DiPippo in 1997 of the rape and murder of Josette Wright, a Carmel middle-schooler whose remains were discovered by a hunter in a wooded area off a dirt road in Patterson in 1995, a year after she went missing.

The two men were accused of raping and strangling the victim in a van that belonged to Krivak’s father, then dumping her body.

In May 2020, Westchester County Judge David Zuckerman vacated Krivak’s conviction and ordered a new trial after hearing evidence about statements that an inmate in a Connecticut state prison allegedly made about Wright in prison. He took his first steps as a free man outside the Putnam County Correctional Facility in November 2020.

The Putnam County District Attorney’s Office appealed Zuckerman’s decision to grant Krivak a new trial, but that appeal was denied. The D.A.’s office then ordered a new trial.

That trial ended Feb. 27 when Krivak was found not guilty.

The conviction for Krivak’s “co-defendant,” DiPippo, was overturned because his trial lawyer never disclosed that he had previously represented Howard Gombert, a convicted serial rapist who is currently serving a 30-year sentence in a Connecticut state prison and who allegedly confessed to Wright’s murder to another prisoner.

DiPippo went back to trial and was again found guilty, but the court did not allow him to present evidence of Gombert’s guilt so that conviction was reversed by the New York Court of Appeals. DiPippo went back to trial a third time and was acquitted.

He went on to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against Putnam County and won more than $12 million in a settlement that cost the county $200,000 in insurance deductibles.

Tendy condemned lawmakers for approving the settlement, saying DiPippo’s civil rights were never violated.

DiPippo and Krivak were tried separately because Krivak signed a confession, which DiPippo did not. However, the defense maintained that the confession was coerced.


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