CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

43 Freed From Prison After Law Enforcement Corruption

Tulsa defends against police-corruption civil lawsuits
The Tulsa World by Omer Gillham - March 5, 2012

With a strategy of striking early and quickly, defense attorneys won a second key victory last week in their efforts to defend the city against several lawsuits arising from a police corruption probe of the Tulsa Police Department, an official said. The City of Tulsa and several former police officers are facing civil suits based on allegations of falsified search warrants, nonexistent informants and other civil rights violations, court records show. The lawsuits stem from a two-year investigation headed by special prosecutors from Eastern Arkansas. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Duke helped free numerous inmates from prison due to falsified search warrants or perjured testimony by former Tulsa Police officer Jeff Henderson, former ATF agent Brandon McFadden and other officers, a federal indictment states. Henderson and McFadden were sentenced in December to federal prison. McFadden pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy while Henderson was convicted of perjury and civil rights violations. McFadden and Henderson are named as defendants in several lawsuits. McFadden has filed for bankruptcy, according to a filing in the case involving the alleged framing of a father and daughter sent to prison on a drug conviction. The two were freed after the informant in the case said he lied about buying drugs from the pair, records show. McFadden filed for bankruptcy Jan 13, records show. Meanwhile, noted attorney Clark Brewster has spearheaded a legal strategy to knock out civil suits filed by former inmates who allege they were framed and wrongly imprisoned, records show.

Two lawsuits dismissed

In the past month, Brewster's law firm has been successful in having the city dismissed from two lawsuits filed in federal court. Two different federal judges - Gregory Frizzell and Joe Heaton - granted Brewster's motions to dismiss the city from the cases, leaving other defendants still active in the suits, records show. Brewster's firm also had the city dismissed from a third lawsuit in state court but the suit has been refiled in federal court, said Guy Fortney, a Brewster associate. Brewster and Fortney said the strategy was to strike early to ward off a deluge of potential lawsuits against the city. "We believed that if we could file early to dismiss these cases and help inform the court of the landscape of them that we could gain some early wins and knock out the filings of others," Brewster said. "We believed this could have a chilling effect for anyone thinking about filing lawsuits against the city." Brewster has pledged to donate $1.2 million in legal fees to help defend the city thus saving taxpayers potentially millions in legal fees and judgments, the World has reported. When lawsuits began being filed as early as April 2010, Brewster said that some officials estimated that the city could face two dozen suits, but to date their appears to be only eight, the World has reported. A grand jury probe resulted in 11 law enforcement officers being named in the probe, a World investigation shows. Two police trials were held in June and August in U.S. District Court in Tulsa. In addition to Henderson and McFadden, two other former law enforcement officers were convicted or pleaded guilty to stealing drug money or drug conspiracy. Two additional police officers were acquitted during their trial but fired in January by Police Chief Chuck Jordan following an Internal Affairs investigation. A third officer was acquitted and remains on administrative leave pending the outcome of an Internal affairs investigation. Three other Tulsa police officers were named as unindicted co-conspirators. Additionally, two more former TPD officers admitted planting drugs on individuals or stealing drug money and cooperated with prosecutors in the case.

43 freed from prison

Meanwhile, 43 people have been freed from prison or had their cases modified due to alleged falsified search warrants or other civil rights violations by police, records show. On Feb. 27, a federal judge dismissed the city from a lawsuit filed by Dustin Eastom, who was freed from prison Sept. 7, 2010 after his drug conviction was set aside. Eastom was convicted Nov. 16, 2007 and sentenced to seven years in prison in February 2008. Henderson, McFadden and the ATF remain defendants in the suit. Heaton wrote: "The problem is that plaintiff's allegations in his sixth cause for action are, like much of the rest of his complaint, jumbled, conclusory and without factual assertions." Eastom's attorney, Stanley Monroe, said Eaton's ruling left open the door to refile a complaint against the city. "The judge has entered an order of dismissal of three claims against the city but specifically allowed the plaintiff to amend a complaint to set forth additional facts which might point to the city's more direct involvement in the underlying facts of he case," Monroe said.

In a separate case, Brewster's law firm successfully had the city dismissed from a lawsuit filed by Patrick Neil London, who is suing the city for $13 million for wrongful incarceration. London served 435 days in jail before a state judge dismissed the case after determining that police had lied about the facts of London's arrest, court records show. Of Feb. 17, Frizzell dismissed the city from the lawsuit, records show. The London case does not involve allegations against Henderson or McFadden. One of the earliest lawsuits filed against the city involves allegations that Henderson and McFadden framed Larry Wayne Barnes Sr. and Larita Annette Barnes in 2007. The Barneses were convicted of selling drugs and sentenced to federal prison. However, they were freed in 2009, after an informant in the case said he worked with McFadden and Henderson to frame them, court records show. The Barnes served more than a year in prison before being freed due to the police probe. Larry Barnes filed a lawsuit in April 2010 in state court which has been transferred to federal court. Larita Barnes filed a lawsuit in federal court on Aug. 6, 2010, seeking millions for wrongful incarceration. Brewster's firm has filed a motion to dismiss the Barnes' cases, records show. Other lawsuits include: Bobby Wayne Haley Sr., DeMarco Williams, Demario T. Harris and William Eli Kinnard Jr. Eastom, London, Williams and Harris were not among those named in the indictment against police officers yet they allege wrongful incarceration by police. In the Haley case, the Tulsa Police Department has been dismissed while the City and other defendants are still involved. Haley was freed from federal prison in May 2010 because federal prosecutors allege that Henderson fabricated the informant in the case, records show. The defense has filed a motion to dismiss Williams' case while other cases are in earlier stages of litigation, records show. Williams was freed from prison in April 2010 after a life sentence was overturned in federal court.

No comments: