Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

January 7, 2014

Right ruling

Court: Prosecutors immune from lawsuits by defendants

ASHLAND — The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has rightly dismissed a lawsuit filed by three acquitted defendants against two Madison County prosecutors. We shudder to think of what could happen to criminal justice in Kentucky if those found not guilty of their crimes could sue prosecutors.

Former Richmond police officers Garry Murphy and Brian Hensley, and another defendant,  James J. Rogers, were found not guilty by the jury in 2010. That should have been the end of it, with the three defendants being elated that justice had been served.

But instead of quietly closing this rather ugly chapter in their lives, the three defendants sued  Madison County Commonwealth’s Attorney David Smith and his wife, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jennifer Smith, for the damages they did to their reputations, their careers and their family lives by aggressively prosecuting them for crimes a jury decided they did not commit.

The investigation that led to the criminal charges stemmed from a sexual encounter they had with a woman, April McQueen, on Oct. 29. 2009, the Richmond Register reported. After their acquittal, Murphy, Hensley and Rogers did not stop at just suing the two prosecutors. They also sued then-Madison County Sheriff Nelson O’Donnell, two deputies, two of McQueen’s neighbors and her landlord. Clearly, they were seeking revenge from anyone responsible for the charges being brought to trial.

The federal appeals court in Cincinnati did the only thing it could do. It rightly ruled prosecutors are immune from a civil suit brought after a failed criminal prosecution.

Before advancing to trial, police officers had to investigate the allegations made by McQueen and determine if further action was needed. After being arrested, the charges against the three men had to be brought before a grand jury, which determined there was enough evidence to merit a trial.

Criminal cases do not usually go to trial on flimsy evidence. In this case, the prosecutors must have thought they had enough evidence to convict the three. The jury disagreed. So be it.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO‚Äąregion with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • In Your View

    Letters to the editor

    April 3, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Dismal numbers

    The good news is that the health ratings of all but two area counties improved in the latest ranking of the state’s 120 counties. However, before we pat ourselves on the back for those improvements, the overall health of residents of counties in northeast Kentucky remains rather dismal. Yes, we are improving but we still have a long, long way to go.

    April 2, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
SEC Zone