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$1.31 Million Award to Wrongfully Jailed California Man

A California federal jury awarded $1.31 million to a man who spent eight months in jail for being unlawfully arrested on a home invasion murder he did not commit.

Within eight hours of the November 1, 2005 crime, Edmond Ovasapyan was arrested. His arrest was made despite the surviving victim and witnessing neighbors being unable to identify Ovasapyan as the perpetrator amongst the persons in the six pack photo line up. It was only after the survivor was assured an arrest would not be made that she said Ovasapyan looked like the perpetrator of the crime.

Based upon that statement, Ovasapyan was arrested and charged with home invasion robbery and first degree murder with special circumstances, subjecting him to the death penalty. For the next eight months, Ovasapyan languished in solitary confinement before his release in “the interests of justice.”

The investigating Glendale Police Department Officers ignored exculpatory evidence. They paid no heed to Ovasapyn’s alibi, which included an apartment unit’s owner and Ovasapyan’s coworker who said he was laying tile at the unit when the crime occurred. Cell phone records verified Ovasapyan was too far from the crime to be involved. Forensic evidence was ignored and no blood or DNA testing was performed on Ovasapyan’s clothes.

In February 2009, the jury awarded Ovasapyan special and general damages against Officer Arthur Frank and Sgt. Ian Grimes in the amount of $1,160,000, assessed jointly and severely; and punitive damages of $75,000 against each. The Court awarded Ovasapyan $271,495.57 in attorney fees and $5,543.83 in costs. He was represented by attorneys Mark J. Geragos, Shelley Kaufman, and Eugene Patterson Harris of the Los Angeles firm Geragos & Geragos. See: Ovasapyan v. City of Glendale, USDC, C.D. Cal., Case No. 2:08-cv-00194-CAS-JWJ. The defendants have filed an appeal.

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Related legal case

Ovasapyan v. City of Glendale

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.