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A Michigan Man’s Hertz Receipt Could Have Kept Him Out Of Prison, Now He’s Suing The Rental Car Company

A Michigan Man’s Hertz Receipt Could Have Kept Him Out Of Prison, Now He’s Suing The Rental Car Company

Herbert Alford, a Michigan man who was convicted of murder in 2016, is now suing Hertz, saying the car rental company failed to produce a receipt that would have proved he was not at the scene of the crime in 2011. Although the charges against Alford were dropped after the company produced the receipt in 2018, the 47-year-old filed the suit on Tuesday, stating that Hertz’s “actions, inactions and negligence” kept him imprisoned.

“This man wasn’t asking to produce all their records for six months,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jamie White, said, according to The New York Times. “He just wanted his receipt.”

The exonerated man was found guilty for the murder of 23-year-old Michael Adams, was who fatally shot during a drug-related dispute in Lansing, Michigan, on Oct. 18, 2011. Alford insisted that he was renting a car from Hertz at Capital Region International Airport in Lansing around the time of the shooting.

“It’s too far away,’’ White said about the airport, which is located about eight miles away from the crime scene. “There is no way he could have committed this crime.”

According to WLNS, the evidence proves that Alford used his credit card at the airport at 3 p.m, six minutes before Adams was shot and killed in the 3400 block of Pleasant Grove.


The man who was sentenced to 30 years sought multiple subpoenas and court orders over three years to get Hertz to produce the receipt. He then found relief in 2018 when a judge granted his motion for a new trial based on the evidence received from the company. But Alford said he would not have been convicted and would not have served five years if the evidence had been given earlier. 

Michael S. Cheltenham, the chief assistant prosecutor in Ingham County, said the case remains open. According to Cheltenham, police and prosecutors “have never said that the Hertz time-stamp document conclusively proves that someone other than Mr. Alford shot Michael Adams.” 

White said his client is seeking financial compensation, NPR reported

“They viciously disregarded his request for cooperation. For that reason Hertz is responsible financially for the harms he has suffered,” the attorney said.

He adds that race played a factor in the company’s failure to quickly provide the receipt.

“This is a global organization with an enormous amount of resources. The only thing that makes sense to me is that they looked at this African American man, presumed he’d be convicted, and they didn’t have time for it,” White said.

Hertz said it was “deeply saddened” about what had happened to Alford, but the company made a good effort to find the evidence. 

“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,” spokeswoman Lauren Luster told The Times. “With advances in data search in the years following, we were able to locate the rental record in 2018 and promptly provided it.”

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