(CN) – The 9th Circuit partially revived a lawsuit against the city of Long Beach, filed by a man exonerated by DNA evidence after spending nearly 14 years behind bars for a kidnapping, rape and molestation he didn’t commit. One officer may have deliberately fabricated evidence, the court said.
After serving time for the 1988 crime, Leonard McSherry’s name was cleared by forensic evidence and a confession by the actual perpetrator.
He filed a civil rights suit against the city, its police department and two individual officers. According to McSherry, police had fabricated the victim’s descriptions of the crime scene, coerced the victim’s identification of McSherry as the perpetrator, ignored exculpatory evidence and arrested him without probable cause.
The lower court dismissed the case on the ground of qualified immunity, but the federal appeals court reversed the decision as applied to Officer Norman Turley.
“We conclude that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether Turley deliberately fabricated evidence,” Judge Trott wrote.