Two St. Louis criminal defense lawyers and a civil rights attorney have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking compensation for a client due to police and prosecutor misconduct. The criminal case that led to this lawsuit is the local equivalent to the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. Lincoln County police, with the assistance of the Lincoln County prosecutor handling the case, ignored key pieces of evidence that were proof a man charged with murdering his wife was actually innocent. Based on the police’s own timeline, the husband had an airtight alibi because he was nearly thirty miles away at a fast food restaurant at the time of the murder. It is important to note that this man was not simply “not guilty” meaning there was not enough evidence to prove him guilty; instead, this man was completely innocent of the murder. Criminal lawyers represent a fair number of people who committed the crime for which they are charged. Criminal lawyers represent some people who are not guilty for lack of evidence. And finally, criminal lawyers sometimes get to represent someone who is fully innocent.
Police and prosecutors are often immune to lawsuits like the one that was filed here, but there is an exception. If the police or prosecutors falsify evidence or take part in similar dishonest practices, then they can face a civil lawsuit to seek damages. Here, the damages are high because a false conviction resulting from the falsified evidence and dishonest police tactics lead to the husband spending more than four years in prison before his exoneration from the murder.
Police and Prosecutors Must Be Held Accountable
The most important part of this civil law suit against the Lincoln County police and prosecutor is that it is a step towards holding police and prosecutors accountable for their actions. One step in accountability, especially in a high profile murder case, is the media, which has condemned the behaviors of the police and prosecutor. Unfortunately, that is only the equivalent of a public shaming. When these people are really put on the line, as defendants themselves, albeit in a civil case instead of a criminal case, that is when the message is really hammered home. Police and prosecutors both have an ethical obligation to seek truth and justice, not convictions. This is a message that gets lost far too often. Television shows that glamorize police work or prosecution, such as Law & Order, taint the real role of the police and prosecutors. When they lose sight of the goals of their job and the ethics involved, innocent people go to jail and prison. Fortunately here, the truth came out and the people involved will not have to answer to a jury in federal court.
If you have been a victim of dishonest police work that resulted in criminal charges, then please contact St. Louis criminal defense lawyer Jason Korner at 314-409-2659 for a free consultation regarding the incident.