The man spent 5 years in prison because Hertz would not hand over the receipt proving his innocence.

Gary Leff at the age of 11. March 2021.

A Michigan man has spent five years in prison for murder, when a receipt from Hertz would have been enough to prove his innocence.

Herbert Alford was accused of shooting a man, but Hertz’s receipt proves he couldn’t have done it. The crime occurred at 2:54pm on the 18th. October 2011, but Hertz processed his rental car return just 6 minutes later at the airport. The murder did not take place near the airport.

Alford was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison. He fought Hertz for years to get a copy of the rental receipt, and after spending five of those 30 to 60 years in prison, and after numerous court orders and subpoenas, his conviction was finally overturned based on the Hertz receipt. Hertz falsely claimed that the records had been destroyed, but when the judge ordered Hertz to appear in court, they were eventually produced.

The man’s lawyer filed a complaint against Hertz. Their delay led to his wrongful conviction and the loss of several years of his life. As his lawyer said,

Hertz Corporation has a fully equipped legal department. There is absolutely no reason why society would completely ignore subpoenas and court orders for years while an innocent man is in jail.

But Hertz’s bankruptcy complicates the question of whether it can recover anything.

Herbert Alford spent nearly five years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

A car rental receipt from Hertz would clear his name. https://t.co/vq3bHt6twM

– Lansing State Journal (@LSJNews) March 10, 2021

I’ve written several times about Hertz sending people to jail for stealing rental cars they were returning. A common factor seems to be leaving the original vehicle allocation or lease extension when Hertz employees have not completed all transaction paperwork correctly.

A client spent 40 days in jail for a rental transaction that occurred eight years ago. Another reported a rental car that Hertz had already reported stolen. It was obviously not stolen, because they had it and rented it.

But here, Hertz had exculpatory documents, and he couldn’t produce them for five years. When deciding who to rent from, keep in mind that Hertz doesn’t really have a good alibi. As Alford’s lawyer said,

While Hertz had the chance to help an innocent man – and his client, no less – find his family, they chose to leave him in jail for years….. They simply had no problem helping Herbert Alford get justice – not when he asked, not when the court asked. Hertz’s policy of doing nothing is just reprehensible.

(HT: @barry1levine)

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