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Wrongfully Imprisoned California Man Awarded $18 Million

On February 15, 2006, a federal jury in California awarded $18 million to a man who was wrongly charged with sexual assault of a child and imprisoned for 10 months.

During his false imprisonment in the Los Angeles County Jail, Ramirez, 26, was spat on by deputies and urinated on by prisoners. He also developed high blood pressure.

Ramirez was released after the trial court found him "factually innocent." He sued LA County, the LA Sheriff?s Department, and the police officer that conducted the investigation claiming malicious prosecution, false arrest, and unconstitutional search. Ramirez specifically alleged the officer lacked probable cause to arrest him, failed to investigate exculpatory evidence?which they didn?t turn over to the defense until just before trial. Suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Before his arrest Ramirez was a teacher earning about $50,000 a year. Following his release, however, Ramirez was unemployed for three years before finding another teaching position. He consequently sought $300,000 in lost wages. At trial the jury sided with Ramirez and awarded him a total of $18 million.

Ramirez?s experts included Roger A. Clark of Santee, California (police practices and procedures), Robert Wunderlich (economics), Lynda Larson (private investigation), Richard Romanoff (forensic psychology), and Walter Greenberg (psychology), all of Los Angeles.

Ramirez was represented by California attorneys Michael Olecki of Santa Monica, Michael Artan of Los Angeles, and Michael D. Sobel of Beverly Hills. See: Ramirez v. Los Angeles County Sheriff?s Office, USDC CD CA, Case No. 2:04-cv-06102.

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Related legal case

Ramirez v. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office