"Judge: Malicious prosecution lawsuits can proceed," is AP coverage, via the San Francisco Chronicle.
A federal judge has ruled that lawsuits by two men falsely accused of killing a couple near Murdock in 2006 can proceed against Nebraska law enforcement officials.
Matthew Livers and Nicholas Sampson sued state investigators and those with Douglas and Cass counties in 2008 and 2007, saying the officials violated their constitutional rights.
The two men were initially charged in the 2006 shotgun slayings of Wayne and Sharmon Stock in their farmhouse in southeastern Nebraska. The men spent months in jail before being cleared of murder charges.
"Judge clears way for lawsuit filed by men falsely accused of Nebraska murder," is the Lincoln Journal Star by Nicholas Bergin.
A federal judge has again ruled that lawsuits against law enforcement officials filed by two men falsely accused of a 2006 murder near Murdock can move forward.
Authorities arrested and charged Nicholas Sampson and his cousin Matthew Livers seven years ago in the murders of Liver’s uncle and aunt, Wayne and Sharmon Stock of Murdock.
Charges eventually were dropped when Jessica M. Reid, 24, and Gregory Fester II, 26, of Wisconsin pleaded guilty to murder charges after admitting they shot the Stocks in the head at close range early on April 17, 2006.
The defendants in the lawsuits -- Nebraska State Patrol Investigators Bill Lambert and Charles O’Callaghan, former Cass County Sheriff’s Detective Earl Schenck and his supervisor, Sandra Weyer, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office -- had filed motions asking for the cases to be partially or wholly thrown out.
U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon on Friday rejected their arguments, clearing the way for trial, which is to begin Oct. 21.
Bataillon noted Sampson has settled with the patrol investigators and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, but he said many questions remain and should be answered by a jury.
Livers’ suit alleges the violation of his constitutional rights, wrongful arrest and incarceration, as well as the improper training of Cass County sheriff’s officials in doing interviews. The suit seeks unspecified damages for the injuries he sustained because of the false charges, plus punitive damages for those responsible.
The Omaha World-Herald reports, "Federal judge: 2 men wrongly accused of murder can proceed with lawsuit," by Cody Winchester.
After the real killers were tried and convicted, Sampson and Livers sued officials in Douglas and Cass Counties and the Nebraska State Patrol on grounds that evidence was fabricated, Livers’ confessions coerced and key information withheld from defense attorneys.
Douglas County CSI Director David Kofoed later was convicted of planting blood evidence in Sampson’s car. Douglas County agreed to pay Livers $50,000 and Sampson $75,000 in separate settlements this year.
Friday, U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon rejected requests by the remaining defendents — Nebraska State Patrol investigators William Lambert and Charles O’Callaghan, and former Cass County Sheriff’s detective Earl Schenck and Deputy Sheriff Sandra Weyer — to toss the case.
The trial begins Oct. 21.