Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exoneree awarded $2.3 million jury verdict over innocence evidence concealed by prosecutors

Texas Lawyer brings word (Oct. 23) of the latest example of innocence compensation, this time through a federal courtroom instead of the state's innocence compensation law:
A federal judge issued a $2.3 million final judgment on Oct. 15 in favor of Manuel Alvarez, who filed a §1983 municipal liability complaint alleging that the city of Brownsville allowed its jailers to beat him in 2005 when he was 17, and then falsely charged him with assaulting them. Alvarez alleged that the jail concealed from him and his defense lawyers a videotape of the beating.

Luis Avila of Dallas and Eddie Lucio of Brownsville represented Alvarez, who served four years in a state jail for the assault charges before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals exonerated him in 2010 on the basis of his actual innocence, Lucio said. But Alvarez had a criminal record when the beating took place, Lucio added. That background presented an obstacle but a surmountable one at the jury trial held to decide the damages for municipal liability claim.
An attorney for they city said the will appeal, arguing "that a precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit barred Alvarez from claiming a Brady violation, on which he based his complaint, because he had previously pleaded guilty. A Brady violation occurs when prosecutors fail to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court 1963 ruling in Brady v. Maryland and disclose all exculpatory evidence." The story concluded:
Both Avila and Lucio expect the Fifth Circuit, based on the questions of status of Brady rights for defendants who have pleaded guilty, to review the case.

For now, though, the two lawyers are savoring their victory for a client "who was not a model kid," as Avila said, but who also did not deserve to be beaten and then charged for assaulting a jailer while a videotape of his beating remained hidden from his lawyers.


Anonymous said...

Suggestion. Every wrongful conviction should count against a DA. They should put a cap on how many a DA is allowed to have after which they MUST relinquish their positions. This would cure the "conviction rate" madness.

rodsmith said...

You just GOTTA love the two-faced traitor shits!

"An attorney for they city said the will appeal, arguing "that a precedent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit barred Alvarez from claiming a Brady violation, on which he based his complaint, because he had previously pleaded guilty."

let's see if we can determine the timeline here.

You the DA hide evidence in a criminal assault against this man. Then CHARGE HIM for being beat up by the cops. Then leave him locked up and threaten him with god knows how long in prison. So he takes a deal. Now when YOUR crime is discovered you think you can hide it because you conned this man into a plea? Sorry your a two-faced little shit that should be locked in a room with this man after he's given an aluminum BAT for 5 min's

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder if the guy in Pennsylvania who is accused of shooting two state troopers there may have been a victim of police brutality in the past. If victims can't find redress through the courts, might there be more Eric Freins in the future?

If the city does prevail in having this judgment overturned, and Alvarez clips a few cops in its stead, would the city then be liable for their deaths?

Anonymous said...

From 2000-2004 the City of Garland Police lied in my case involving a SIDS death. When my child began to suffer after 4 years of fighting the DA's office I took a plea to end the constant stress. That's when we went from the pan straight into the fire. We were criminally stalked and harassed by constables, Garland Police Officers and firefighters along with their friends until 2007 when I was arrested for uploading the photos to a personal website. Instead of help I was kicked off the internet. I still have those photographs and files. We moved out of state in 2009 because law enforcement there is a criminal enterprise.

Anonymous said...

I am in a practice of law that has a high grievance rate. I work hard for every client, however, a jury gives a verdict they don't agree with, a jail call sinks them, on and on, it is my fault. State bar sends a letter, I reply, and if they want more information I do so.

I am constantly under threat of having my bar card taken, the State Bar can come in and poke around and make sure I am doing my job. Which they should.

However, prosecutors have NOTHING to deter their behavior. They only have incentives (e.g. voters in the county/talking pieces for the press) for their ill behavior. Humanity is not enough for them to stop and think about the ball they hide to convict. They balance it with "well I'm sure he was guilty of something, or he's a criminal before this." It's sickening.

The Comedian said...

Cops and DAs think everyone is a crook. It's called projection.

The Homeless Cowboy said...

District Attorneys have long enjoyed immunity from prosecution for anything they do to secure convictions. This needs to be stripped retroactively and the whining small minded members of their profession who protest should be investigated. You can be sure that prosecutors and District Attorneys who are honest and upstanding people, do not feel the need to use techniques like these in the first place. So in truth, only the guilty dogs will bark. Guilty dogs belong in cages, not walking around in polite society. This is what they say about the people they railroad into prison by using shady techniques. Will it harm their conviction rates? Undoubtedly so, and well it should. ANY PERSON who would allow a person, or cause a person to go to prison for a crime they did not commit, whether through incompetence or chicanery, should be subject to the same sentence they subjected that person to. Do that and you will see prosecutor misconduct disappear, conviction rates and prison populations will drop. The State will save a boot full of money. Yes a few incompetent attorneys will lose their high paying prosecutor paycheck, and that is for the common good. Perhaps when their family is living in a cardboard box they will understand the human condition and begin to learn how to be a person. I say this and you may think me unkind, I am not, I made a very similar fall, although not an attorney, I fell from my lofty perch to the street, dragged my wife with me, and are now on the way back with a much better understanding of the role of a human being. Think it can't happen to you? So did I.

Michael W. Jewell, President, Texas CURE said...

The Michael Morton Law should be amended to make the mandatory punishment, for D.A.s who knowingly commit prosecutorial misconduct, the same as the punishment received by the defendant they screwed over.

rodsmith said...

only one SMALL problem Michael. Until someone manages to remove the current set of traitors on the United States Supreme Court and overturn there criminal orders about both soverign immunity and prosecutorial as well. No law changes it.

personally I love how they think passing a law or issuing a court order will give them some type of legal protection from their real employers' THE AMERICAN CITIZEN. Sorry but the 2nd amendment of the constitution of the United States of America argues the exact opposite. A necessary defense against our own NEW EXPERIMENTAL GOVERNMENT is the whole damn reason that was put in there. Plus the main reason it would be written as well as the rest of the damn document was


if they keep being retarded and criminal actors we have the legal and moral right to remove them from office no matter how many of them we have to kill.

Jennifer Laurin said...

It looks to me like the complaint might actually have alleged that the police committed the Brady violation, not the DA. Anyone know if that's correct?

Unknown said...

I agree the DA have to much power. It's time 4 them 2 do time. AMen

Unknown said...

Brady violations in Paul Bailey case. Much evidence never provided but now we know tampering occurred in the evidence that was provided.

Tnix said...

Paul, the CC DA not only withheld evidence from my case, but also tampered with the video. Then it was allowed as evidence even though it was clearly altered. After I appealed, they changed it so appeals court wouldn't see how they tampered with it. If it was anyone else, they would be charged with organized criminal activity.