Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


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.

Text Only
  • PAUL CHITWOOD: Ruling on same-sex marriage defies state constitution

    News that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn once again usurped the will of Kentucky voters is tragic and disappointing. By declaring gay marriage legal in the commonwealth, Heyburn defied the essential, foundational governing document that ensures order and justice, the Constitution of Kentucky.

    July 8, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • Magolene S. Fraley 1929-2014

    Magolene Spears Fraley, 84, of Wurtland, died Saturday in Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland.

    May 17, 2014

  • Business grant

    Morehead State graduate student Kayla Keeton, who received her undergraduate degree from MSU last spring and is now studying for her MBA at the school, has received a $5,111 grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help her start Belles of the Bluegrass, a high-tech wedding planning business.

    May 16, 2014

  • Recovery Fest celebrates kicking addiction

    The wet weather no doubt impacted the size of the crowd at Saturday’s Recovery Fest 2014 at Veterans Riverfront Park in Ashland, but there were plenty of reasons for addicts who are now drug free to celebrate and for speakers like State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and others to talk about the impact the prescription drug epidemic has had on this region and for others to distribute literature and offer words of encouragement that could convince some to seek help in their battle with their drug addictions.

    May 13, 2014

  • In Your View 5/13/14

    Letters to the editor:

    May 13, 2014