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Woman released after overturned murder conviction sues San Diego County

Posted at 1:34 PM, Jun 07, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A North County woman who spent 20 years in prison for murder, only to have the conviction thrown out, has filed a lawsuit against San Diego County.

On Feb. 13, 2000, Robert Dorotik’s body was found beaten and strangled near the Valley Center ranch he shared with his wife Jane, who had reported him missing the day before.

Jane Dorotik was arrested on suspicion of murdering her husband several days later.

Despite consistently maintaining her innocence, Dorotik was convicted in 2001 of murdering her husband. She was given a 25-years-to-life prison sentence.

Dorotik was released from prison in 2020, with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office conceding to a defense motion to set aside the verdict following the discovery of new DNA evidence.

In May 2022, a retrial was set to begin but the prosecution filed a motion to dismiss the case. Per the motion, prosecutors said certain evidence was ruled inadmissible prior to the retrial and without that, the case could not proceed.

Dorotik’s lawsuit, filed on June 5, names the county and several people who worked on the case.

The suit stated: "This civil rights action seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Defendants for causing Plaintiff to be deprived of rights, privileges, and immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of California in relation to the wrongful investigation, arrest, prosecution, conviction, and incarceration of Plaintiff Jane Dorotik for a crime that she did not commit."

According to the lawsuit, “Trial by jury of all issues is demanded.”

City News Service contributed to this report