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18M Award In False Arrest Case, LawyersUSA, 2006

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Lawyers Weekly, Inc.

From the February 27, 2006 Lawyers USA.

Verdicts & Settlements

$18M Award In False Arrest Case
A California jury on Feb. 15 awarded $18 million to a teacher who said a sheriff's
detective falsely accused him of kidnapping and assaulting a girl and then hid evidence
that would have exonerated him.
Plaintiff Raul Ramirez was arrested after a student identified him as the man who
kidnapped her at gunpoint in May 2002, drove her to another location and demanded she
perform a sex act. The 16-year-old girl escaped.

A jury found the 29-year-old teacher
not guilty after he produced ATM
receipts and cell phone records
showing he was miles from the
scene when the crime occurred. A
judge later made the rare finding
that he was "factually innocent."
Ramirez then sued the Los Angeles
County Sheriff's Department,
alleging that Detective Frank Bravo,
a 20-year veteran, built a false case

against him.
According to Ramirez's federal complaint, Bravo knew he did not match the victim's
description of her assailant, but withheld that information until just before trial. Ramirez's
attorney also said Bravo did not disclose the existence of the girl's backpack, which did
not contain Ramirez's fingerprints.
Bravo "arrested Mr. Ramirez and basically shattered his life based on the unreliable
eyewitness identification of a teenage girl who was mistaken," said defense attorney
Michael Artan. "Then he hid evidence that would have exonerated Mr. Ramirez."
Assistant County Counsel Roger Granbo said the county was disappointed by the verdict,
adding sheriff's officials believed they were not liable because prosecutors thought the
case against Ramirez had merit.
"The district attorney knew the problems with the case and the positive aspects and made
an independent decision to prosecute," Granbo said.

© 2006 Lawyers Weekly Inc., All Rights Reserved.

5/31/2006 10:21 AM