DALLAS (CN) – A man who spent 27 years in prison for an aggravated sexual assault he did not commit, and was exonerated this year by DNA testing, demands punitive damages from the City of Dallas and its police Officer Donald Ortega, whom he claims refused to investigate the exonerating evidence in 1981, when Charles Allen Chatman was sentenced to life in prison.
Chatman, 47, who is black, was arrested and imprisoned in 1981. He was released from prison on Jan. 3 this year. On Jan. 23, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals “overturned his conviction on the basis of his actual innocence,” the complaint states.
Chatman said he was at work the night the woman was raped, and could prove it, but Ortega and the City of Dallas “deliberately failed to reveal [that] exculpatory information, deliberately failed to investigate claims of innocence, and employed irreparably suggestive identification procedures” to get him convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
He demands punitive damages for constitutional violation of due process, conspiracy, malicious prosecution, and other charges. He is represented in Federal Court by Kevin Glasheen of Lubbock.