Federal judge dismisses claim against Harris County DA in wrongful conviction case

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Federal Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed a claim against Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg brought by a former death row inmate who was wrongfully convicted.

The judge said in a Dec. 20 opinion that Alfred Dewayne Brown suing Ogg individually is redundant with his suing the county, another defendant in his pending legal claim, the Houston Chronicle reported.  

Brown, now 37, brought the lawsuit in June 2017 to seek compensation for the 12 years he spent in prison before a retired police investigator found an old audio recording in his garage that corroborated the Houston man’s alibi. 

Brown was sent to death row in 2005 for the fatal shooting of a police officer during a botched robbery of a check-cashing store, the newspaper reported. The phone records that the retired officer uncovered corroborated Brown’s alibi that he was at his girlfriend’s house; that led to his conviction being overturned.

Brown’s attorneys sought to get him money in recompense for his prison time, as state law allows, but were rebuffed because the murder charge had been dismissed rather than Brown being declared not guilty. This led Brown to sue the City of Houston, Harris County, Ogg and other individual officers for wrongfully sending him to prison, the newspaper reported.

The lawsuit seeking the compensation was put on hold while special prosecutor John Raley reinvestigated the crime. He cleared Brown, a move that was opposed by police, but officials with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts said in June that Brown would not receive compensation, the Chronicle reported. 

Now the lawsuit moves forward, minus Ogg.

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