A Michigan man who spent nearly five years in custody is suing a car rental company for failing to produce in a timely manner a receipt that would have proved his innocence long before he was convicted of a 2011 murder.
The evidence from Estero-based Hertz was finally obtained in 2018, leading to Herbert Alford’s exoneration in Ingham County last year.
Alford filed a lawsuit against Hertz on Tuesday, although the case will be slowed by the company’s bankruptcy reorganization. He is seeking financial compensation of at least $25,000, according to court documents.
“There is no question that (Alford) would have avoided going to prison had they produced this documentation,” attorney Jamie White told WLNS-TV.
Hertz had no immediate comment Wednesday.
Alford was convicted of second-degree murder in 2016 in the shooting death of Michael Adams after Hertz failed to respond to requests for records, White said.
In 2018, Hertz finally produced a receipt that showed Alford was renting a car at a Lansing-area airport at the time that Adams was shot, White said. He was killed in a Lansing neighborhood 20 minutes away from the airport.
The conviction was thrown out and charges were finally dropped in 2020, after Alford had served nearly five years in prison and jail. He was facing 30 to 60 years.
We are deeply saddened to learn of Mr. Alford’s experience. While we were unable to find the historic rental record from 2011 when it was requested in 2015, we continued our good faith efforts to locate it. With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it.