Huntsville Police Officer Brett McCulley puts innocent man in jail for 66 days
Case: O’NEAL MEARS v. MCCULLEY (N.D.Ala. 7-19-2012)
What happened: There was some evidence linking a suspect to a bank robbery. It turns out that this evidence was wrong, but the suspect was nevertheless arrested and kept in jail for 66 days.
Decision: Judge Lynwood Smith said that it was okay for Officer McCulley to do this to the innocent suspect, and that it was okay for Officer McCulley to ignore the suspect’s alibi witnesses and video surveillance footage that showed that plaintiff was somewhere else when the bank robbery occurred (because the footage did not bear a date and time stamp).
Comment: This kind of thing should really be a strict liability offense on the part of the government so that judges, like Judge Smith, cannot do what was done in this case. The idea that equivocal evidence of guilt establishes probable cause that cannot be overborne by alibi witnesses and alibi surveillance video is outrageous.