(CN) – The 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit against Long Beach, Calif., brought by a man exonerated by DNA evidence after spending 14 years in prison for a kidnapping and rape he didn’t commit.
After serving time for the 1988 crime against a 6-year-old girl, Leonard McSherry’s name was cleared by forensic evidence and the confession of the actual perpetrator.
He filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city, its police department and two officers, claiming police had made up the victim’s descriptions of the crime scene, coerced her to identify him as her kidnapper, ignored exculpatory evidence and arrested him without probable cause.
The Pasadena-based appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling for the defendants, agreeing that they were entitled to qualified immunity.
Judge Trott said McSherry simply didn’t have the facts to back up his claim that the officers’ fabricated evidence and leading interview tactics influenced the prosecutor’s decision to file charges against him and pursue a conviction.
McSherry “failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the alleged fabrication or any misconduct by Defendants caused his arrest, prosecution, and conviction,” Trott concluded.