On March 11, 2004, the City of Detroit removed a state court lawsuit to the United States Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The lawsuit was filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Detroit and Wayne County, as well as the Detroit Psychiatric Institute. The plaintiff's estate, represented by the Innocence Project, asked the Court for compensatory and punitive damages, claiming that the defendants violated his First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the The Rehabilitation Act and also claimed violations of the state constitution. Specifically, the plaintiff's estate claimed that the plaintiff's wrongful conviction was the product of malicious police tactics that coerced a false confession from a mentally ill and hospitalized man.
In 1984, a 16-year-old girl named Michelle Jackson was found dead in a warehouse in Detroit. She had been sodomized and killed. Her death was part of a string of 47 rapes and disappearances between September 1983 and 1984. The plaintiff, a man declared legally mentally incompetent, had a habit of calling the police and offering to help them solve rapes and murders. When the police approached the plaintiff in 1984, officers convinced him that his confession would lure the real killer out into the open. The plaintiff confessed under this delusional belief, was convicted, sentenced to life in prison. He remained in prison for 17 years.
The plaintiff's appellate attorney, Robert Slameka, refused to communicate with the plaintiff. When the plaintiff filed a grievance against Mr. Slameka, he responded that the plaintiff's "claim of my wrongdoing is frivolous, just as his existence. Both should be terminated." The plaintiff was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2002.
The plaintiff filed this action alleging that the detectives concealed evidence in bad faith, that his trial and appellate attorneys were ineffective, and that the result was false imprisonment in violation of the Constitution. He also alleged that the Detroit Psychiatric Institute cooperated with the police in prolonging his hospitalization and coercing his confession.
The plaintiff died while the lawsuit was pending, in 2005. The plaintiff's estate filed an Amended Complaint on May 10, 2005.
On May 5, 2006, the parties settled the case. The Court (Judge Gerald Rosen) entered a Consent Judgment. The Consent Judgment required the City of Detroit to pay the plaintiff's estate 3.25 million dollars. In addition, there was a side agreement, provided as an exhibit to the Consent Judgment, under which the City agreed to make a good-faith effort to implement video recording by January 1, 2007, and to to submit bi-monthly reports on its progress to the Plaintiff's estate.
A Satisfaction of Judgment was entered on July 10, 2007, and the case was closed. We have no further information about the City's compliance with the Consent Judgment.Blase Kearney - 06/26/2012