Judge dismisses lawsuit by man who spent 7 years in jail awaiting murder trial
“(Percy) Brown’s allegations, if true, are deeply disturbing,” Judge David Hale said in his order. “As pleaded here, however, they fail to state a plausible claim for relief.”
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Despite calling Percy Brown’s claims of being wrongfully incarcerated for seven years “deeply disturbing,” a federal judge has dismissed his federal lawsuit against the city, Metro Corrections and several law enforcement officers, ruling, in part, the suit was filed too late.
U.S. District Court Judge David Hale ruled late last month that Kentucky's one-year statute of limitations barred Brown’s lawsuit from going forward.
Brown spent more than seven years in jail awaiting trial for murder, rape, sodomy and kidnapping, among other charges. The murder charge was dismissed on Feb. 24, 2015 and the lawsuit was not filed until July 2016.
Brown had claimed that his final charges were not dismissed until April 2016, so the one-year statute of limitations should have started then.
Chicago Attorney Elliot Slosar, who represents Brown, declined to comment on the ruling. A claim against one officer has not yet been dismissed because the officer has not responded to the lawsuit.
Hale also ruled that Brown’s lawsuit fails to “state a plausible claim of malicious prosecution” on the part of three officers, Michael Smithers, Kristen Downs and Jerry Jewell. The judge also ruled the claims should be dismissed for a “lack of specificity.”
“Brown’s allegations, if true, are deeply disturbing,” Hale said in his order. “As pleaded here, however, they fail to state a plausible claim for relief.”
Brown was arrested in 2008 in connection with a 2004 shooting that killed 19-year-old Jennifer Nicole French. In the lawsuit, Brown claimed Louisville Metro Police officers "fabricated" evidence and then piled on additional "false charges" to keep him behind bars.
Brown and his attorneys argued he was "deprived of his liberty" and improperly incarcerated just the same as if prosecutors had "secured a wrongful conviction."
Police believed Brown shot and killed French because she was scheduled to testify against him in a fraud case. It was dismissed when prosecutors could not locate key witnesses, according to court records.
Slosar has said that Brown was more than 70 miles away gambling at a casino when French was murdered. And he said there are Casino records, attached to the lawsuit, that prove it.
Prosecutors have said the records only prove that someone using Brown's casino card was there.
Brown’s murder case was pending for so many years, in part, a judge and prosecutor have said, because Brown chased away multiple lawyers, firing some and threatening to kill others, repeatedly delaying the trial.
In total, Brown went through at least eight attorneys in the murder and other pending cases.
Brown denied that he threatened his attorneys, claiming Judge McKay Chauvin was "biased, unprofessional and reckless," according to court records.
Because of what Chauvin called Brown's "consistently irrational behavior," the judge ordered he be examined to see if he was competent to stand trial, according to court records.
Brown was found competent.
Brown's sister, Vanessa Kelly, has told WDRB in the past that her brother was not guilty and had been locked up for years awaiting trial while prosecutors and defense attorneys conspired against him.
"I know he is not guilty," she said. "He is not capable" of murder.
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