Wrongly Convicted Man Given Green Light To Sue Police

Original Case Details

Desmond Ricks was convicted of second-degree murder and spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. He accused of shooting a friend outside a Detroit restaurant and blamed the police for pinning the case on him without the proper evidence. He accuses police of seizing his mother’s gun and switching the bullets in an attempt to frame him for the murder. An analysis of bullets from the victim in the case has shown that they do not match the gun that was presented at trial against Ricks back in 1992. The University of Michigan Innocence Project took the lead on this case and got a judge to reopen the case back in 2016 when they found that the bullets didn’t match. It has never been disputed the Ricks was there at the restaurant when the shooting occurred, but he has always maintained that he was not the shooter who killed the victim in this case.

Where The Case Stands Now

Ricks has now recently been released from prison and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has also dismissed all the charges and stated that they will not seek any further charges or a trial relating to this incident. Ricks is now seeking more than $100 million in damages for his wrongful conviction and incarceration. United States District Court Judge Paul Borman has cleared the path for Ricks to have a trial or seek a financial settlement relating to his case. If there is a trial, the main issue for the jury to determine is whether the police “intentionally, or at least recklessly falsified or fabricated the conclusion in their report” as stated by Judge Borman. While a trial is possible, it seems more likely that a financial settlement will be negotiated to make this go away. A new Michigan law has been enacted that awards a wrongfully convicted and imprisoned individual $50,000 per year spent in prison. If Ricks is awarded based on this law directly then he may receive $1.25 million. The huge number associated with his lawsuit is likely due to the allegation that the officers acted purposely and illegally dealing with the bullets and forensics in the Ricks case.

What Is Governmental Immunity?

Typically, police are not subject to lawsuits due to governmental immunity. The government is given pretty wide latitude to make mistakes in the course of their jobs, even if those mistakes end up causing serious consequences. However, if it can be shown that the government actor, in this case the police, intentionally or recklessly committed wrongdoing, then the possibility for a lawsuit against the government increases exponentially. In the current case, it has been shown that the evidence against Ricks was completely false, and most likely completely fabricated against him. This is ripe for a large financial settlement due to the act and the resulting loss of 25 years of freedom relating to Ricks.

Note: Governmental immunity differs from immunity given in a criminal case to testify. In those situations, a defendant is given a free pass to testify truthfully about the facts of a given case by giving him or her immunity against any criminal charges that can come as a result of the testimony. You are no longer able to “plead the fifth” if you are given immunity because the fifth amendment no longer applies if you are not subject to criminal charges due to your statements.

Any Further Questions?

If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to a wrongful conviction, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is currently in jail or prison and needs information regarding an appeal, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.

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