Original Case Details
Mubarez Ahmed was convicted back in March 2002 of the murders of Lavelle Griffin and LaTanya White in a drive-by shooting on the west side of Detroit. He was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of 60 years for his convictions. He since served 17 years of his convictions before new evidence came to light that the officer on the case, Sgt. Ernest Wilson, fabricated evidence against Ahmed and lied under oath at his trial. An investigation by the University of Michigan Law School Innocence Clinic and the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit resulted in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office recommending that Ahmed’s murder charges being dismissed, resulting in his release from state prison on September 6, 2018. Ahmed has since filed a lawsuit against both officer Ernest Wilson personally, as well as the city of Detroit for their actions which led to his improper incarceration for 17+ years.
Qualified Immunity Generally
The ability to sue police and prosecutors for their actions is a difficult and uphill battle due to qualified immunity. Qualified immunity grants government officials immunity from civil suits unless the plaintiff shows that the official violated “clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.” This standard requires a showing a purposeful conduct where a government official deliberately violated clearly established law. Complaints of excessive force are routinely dismissed by civil court judges because most times, the claim of excessive force does not reach the level required for government officials to be held financially responsible for their alleged actions. In the present case, United States District Court Judge George Caram Steeh denied motions to dismiss submitted by the officer, stating that the conduct alleged by Ahmed was sufficient to support a lawsuit, thereby meeting the threshold needed to get past qualified immunity. This case will now continue forward in federal court as Ahmed will seek money damages for the officer’s alleged conduct.
What Happens Next?
This case will now continue forward as any other case would in federal court. The possibility exists that Ahmed may settle his suit for a sum of money to be determined. Many times, the claim of qualified immunity is enough for police, prosecutors, and other government officials to escape personal financial responsibility for their alleged actions. Once a case makes it past the initial stage where it could be dismissed on the grounds of qualified immunity however, the entire case going forward changes. The risk now is great for the officer and the city of Detroit to be held responsible as Ahmed only has to prove his case by a preponderance of evidence, meaning more likely than not that the officer violated clearly established law or the Constitution during the murder case against Ahmed. Ahmed’s lawyer stated, “we look forward to having a trial and exposing the corrupt acts that caused my client to serve almost 20 years in prison for a crime he knew nothing about.” If the facts are as Ahmed and his attorney have alleged, then both Sgt. Ernest Wilson as well as the city of Detroit could be on the hook for a significant financial judgement against them. It would not be surprising if this case was settled before trial in an effort to move on without the negative publicity.
Any Further Questions?
If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime or being investigated for one, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully defending criminal cases all over the state of Michigan. This experience extends not only to adult cases, but also to juvenile charges. We are not a general practice firm. We are a team of criminal defense attorneys; it’s all we do. We offer a FREE consultation to anyone with questions relating to a possible or existing criminal charge against them or a loved one. Feel free to contact us on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can also contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide locations. We can also come to you.