WV Civil Rights Lawyer

Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Law

Judgment as a matter of law was just granted in Sawyer 1983 case

Unfortunately we lost at jury trial.  But we just received an order from the Federal Judge overturning the jury verdict and granting judgment in our favor.  There will be a new trial to determine damages.  Yes!

Update: Link to newspaper article.

2nd Update: Gazette article by Zac Taylor.  Some excerpts:

In his order filed Friday afternoon, Goodwin recalled the Los Angeles riots in 1991, sparked after a jury acquitted Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Rodney King despite video footage of the incident.

“The public had seen the tape. The Los Angeles riots ensued,” Goodwin wrote in the order. “Here and now, as there and then, the jury did what they thought was right but simply got it wrong.”

The judge said that law enforcement officers are constitutionally prohibited from inflicting “unnecessary and wanton pain and suffering” on detainees. He said that case law also prohibits officers from using physical force in response to chatter from detainees.

. . .

“The video clearly shows Deputy Asbury punching Mr. Sawyer in the face,” Goodwin wrote, “with the force of his blow knocking Mr. Sawyer’s face to the side.”

. . .

Asbury resumed choking Sawyer. The deputies then took Sawyer to the floor, went out of view for the camera for a short period before returning, and leaving the man on the floor, Goodwin said.

Sawyer stayed on the floor while the officers apparently went on with other tasks, Goodwin said. After a while, Sawyer managed to sit up. He was later taken to the hospital with a fractured nose.

 . . .

During the trial, Sawyer’s lawyer, John H. Bryan, asked the judge to make a ruling on the case based on the video. Goodwin said that he had “grave concerns” that the testimony of the officers involved contradicted the footage.

“I said in response to the motion that I was reminded of the Marx Brothers’ ‘Duck Soup’ movie, in which the heiress confronts Chico Marx dressed as Groucho and says ‘I saw’, and he replies ‘Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?’ ” the judge wrote.

TV News article.

The Order:

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May 18, 2012 - Posted by | Civil Liability, Governmental Liability, John H. Bryan, Judges, Juries, Lawsuits, Lawyers, Media Coverage, Police, Police Misconduct, Trials

1 Comment »

  1. Why couldn’t I get a lawyer like this? I waste 55,000 on attorneys that DID NOT WANT TO WIN for it was not politically correct, and they took six months to consider my complaint against justice Davis recently, when I have her dead to rights since the info in her majority 3 to 2 decision against, were NOT facts from the court record. I am filing a reconsideration, and we will most likely get some good mainstream press out of this. It is a sad day when a West Virginia Supreme Court Justice doesn’t even bother to read the court record to get the facts straight.

    Comment by revengeoftheghostwolf | May 19, 2012 | Reply


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