Pittsburgh lawyers' requests nixed in police brutality suit
Lawyers who missed deadlines to request a psychological exam and witness interviews might have helped a Homewood man's police brutality lawsuit against their clients, but it's hard to gauge how much, two legal experts said on Monday.
Jordan Miles, 20, claims Pittsburgh police Officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak beat him during a 2010 arrest. His civil lawsuit is scheduled for jury trial on July 16.
The city settled with Miles for $75,000 on his claims against the administration, but taxpayers remain on the hook for any monetary award Miles might win against the officers.
Lawyers for the city and the officers asked U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster in March to compel Miles to undergo a mental examination by their expert psychologist, and sought grand jury testimony of two of Miles' friends.
Lancaster denied the requests, saying the attorneys missed an Oct. 1 deadline to request examinations and depose witnesses. The lawyers knew Miles' lawsuit claims the beating caused him psychological damage, and they knew his friends would be witnesses at trial, the judge said.
Attorney Bryan Campbell, who represents the officers, declined comment. The Tribune-Review couldn't reach Michael Kennedy, the city solicitor handling the case.
Bruce Antkowiak, a law professor at St. Vincent College near Latrobe who is not involved with the case, said the defense could call investigators to testify about what Miles' friends told them, and then compare that to their testimony at trial, so it's hard to estimate how much the ruling could hurt the defense.
"You can still get the impeachment," he said. "You just don't get it through the sworn testimony (of the two friends)."
David Harris, a University of Pittsburgh law professor, said judges tend to be tough about deadlines. In criminal cases, personal freedom is at stake; in civil cases, money.
"They either ignored the opportunities they had or made other choices," he said of the attorneys in the Miles case. "And when you do that, you have to live with the consequences."
Lancaster will allow Miles' attorneys to depose three private investigators the officers hired. The city lawyers didn't notify Miles' attorneys until March that they hired the investigators, so they couldn't conduct the interviews before the deadline, the judge ruled.
J. Kerrington Lewis, one of Miles' attorneys, said the judge's reasoning was "pretty straightforward."
"From all appearances, this case is going to trial," he said. "I don't see any other course at this point."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pittsburgh police find missing 75-year-old man
- Plum teacher’s lawyer says latest allegations don’t measure up
- American Airlines manager arrested in Pittsburgh on sex crimes charges
- More witness intimidation charges are filed against Plum teacher
- Wet weather puts Three Rivers Regatta events in jeopardy
- Pittsburgh man going to prison for fatally stabbing girlfriend’s son with butcher knife
- Teen missing for a week found safe by Pittsburgh missing persons unit
- Allegheny County sheriff’s deputy kept cool as bullets flew in car chase
- Former technical facilitator sues Keystone Oaks school board for age discrimination
- Duquesne man arrested again for Megan’s Law violations
- Run-down duplex that Dormont helped to rehab not on the market long