Saturday, September 29, 2007

Steubenville Police Misconduct Case Results In A Major Win for Plaintiffs at the Sixth Circuit

The Thorne case has survived a strong challenge at the Cincinnati based U.S. Court of

Appeals, a City of Steubenville police misconduct related claim based upon multiple fourth

amendment violations arising out of an incident involving a strange warrantless police

search into the backyard of the local Thorne family residence culminating in an alleged

incident of serious excessive force and then a subsequent even more bizarre underage drinking

arrest after two local city police officers gained consensual entrance into the living room of the

Thorne residence back in the summer of 2004, on a high school graduation night.

This incident, included a bizarrre incident of excessive force which resulted in a very serious

head injury to the Thorne's then eight teen year old son resulting from the 'pursuing'

officer's use of a baton on the side of the head of the young plaintiff in this instant case.

This case represents yet another major milestone in the litigation efforts of the local

plaintiffs and Attorney Richard A. Olivito in the past three years to bring to light the

ongoing problems and issues of a constitutional level and nature which are systemic

to both eastern Ohio towns and cities, like Steubenville and Warren, Ohio.

{See or "vindicator' link here for more details on the

precise nature and impact of this major win for the Thorne family as civil litigants

inside their two and half year effort to search for a legal remedy for their and their

son's serious constitutional deprivations.}

The Sixth Circuit clearly concluded that the Thorne case and original pleadings had

not only merit but that the district court judge, Judge Marbley of Columbus, Ohio

was right on point and corrrect to deny the two related city of Steubenville

officers their qualified immunity rights under Section 1983 litigation law last

December in his 35 page well written and detailed opinion which construed the

arguments, pleadings, discovery materials and original motion briefings on the underlying case

created by then lead sole counsel of record, Richard Olivito, strongly in favor of the plaintiff's on

the officer liability claims contained within the civil rights case filed on January 2, 2005.

"I am extremely happy with this recent decision and it demonstrates that the average

american family can use the law and the important Civil Rights Era law created in the

Reconstruction Era of this nation to vindicate, even today, their important civil rights

inside federal forums against great odds, if they are willing to do their homework and

are courageous and capable of enduring what citizens have to often unfortunately

endure inside our nation's legal system, in order to make real the promise contained

in the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment." Olivito stated.

Continuing, he adds, "I am very excited about the outcome and all of us are very relieved

and very much in awe of the process which has allowed this case to come this far and make it

back down to the original fine District Court Judge, Algenon Marbley's whose original opinion

issued last December, was more like a primer on basic Fourth Amendment protections than it

was a mere "passing" judicial opinion.

"Anyone who wants to know both more of how the fourth Amendment is

supposed to operate to protect one's important privacy rights against warrantless

searches and seizures, under the Warrant provision of the Fourth Amendment

needs to acquaint themselves with the opinion of Judge Marbley of Columbus

issued last December." says Olivito.

The case stands for the proposition that the average guy and his working class modest

income family who have followed the rules, can with courage and determination and grit still

find favor with the significant major leaque courts and power structures of this nation.

Any person how wants to know more about what it takes for a little guy can overcome great

odds inside this often intimidating serious federal litigation system, also ought to come better

acquainted with the journey of the Thorne case and the efforts of this family to both protect

their son and their home's constitutional interests while also seeking a proper and lawful relief

thru a federal law, inside today's heavily shielded legal system for their own very serious

constitutional claims repeated violations that they sought to remedy.

"Our hats are off to Mr. Dan Thorne Sr and his son and Ms. Sharon Thorne and their young

daughter for simply being so courageous in the face of so much intensity, great financial burdens

and the sheer stress such a lawsuit produces for a small, working class family like they are."

"They deserve everything and more that both the District Court and the Sixth Circuit's

recent opinions would entitle them to given all that has happened since this incident."

"My only regret." says Olivito, "is that we did not appeal the dismissal of the "policy" claim

because I believe the evidence and the background of this case would have allowed the

Sixth Circuit to find that it too was both geniune and capable of being allowed to move

forward within the context of this very critical case's litigation cycle.

But this issue could have also caused much more work for all involved and much more

complexity to the already very seriously debated appellate constitutional claims.

"On appeal, the strong advocacy and singular legal acumen of James McNamara assisted with

the plaintiff's appellate process and helped to produce this present very good and solid legal

posture this case now presents on the record back in Columbus, after the City's appeal to the

Cincinnati federal Court of Appeals has been rejected in total on all remaining claims."

This decision combined with its strong affirmation of the equally strongly worded district

court opinion will allow the work of Attorney Olivito and others to proceed in the varied decades

old effort to promote and protect the civil constitutional rights of all eastern Ohio towns and

cities citizens from eggregarious police misconduct.

"Such time is now for this related [civil rights] work to continue and it time it should be given

the proper role, distinction and recognition for the determination and the committment to

fundamental american values that such combined efforts both have merited and such the

same deserves. The process of being involved in safeguarded and policing the fundamental civil

rights of all person, white, black, young or old is something that is simply a gift, as much as a

heavy responsibility and challenge. Days like these, make it all the sacrifice and serious upheavel
of such work, worth the while."

This decision is especially sweet for Olivito and he believes for Attorney James McNamara

of Columbus and local former city councilman, Edward 'Skip' Mixon, given that this important

and strong legal victory comes during the exact same month that the Steubenville Consent

Decree with the U.S. Justice Department's pattern and practice special litigation civil rights

section, a milestone recognized by Amnesty International and other international and nationa

civil rights groups, was formally concluded and entered into, ten years ago to the day.

"One could not ask for any better anniversay gift than this" says

Olivito...speaking in light of the years of hard work he and several others put

into both the former historical consent decree [seek link right] in the 1990's

in association later with the U. S. Justice Department Civil Rights Section

in the Clinton Administration.

"This present Thorne case is so critical and no different as to the kind of efforts
that went into the creation of the original consent decree which became

a flagship model for the entire nation via the DOJ's landmark efforts within

the same."

"This was a true team effort, from Dan Thorne Sr ., his sensitive but solid great son, who was

injured seriously by the events of the evening and his wife Skip's role in getting the case to

me and then the saving efforts of McNamara at the Sixth Circuit after bar association problems

complicated the ability of Olivito to continue on after the original court's decision last December.

Its truly a testament to keeping the faith when all is so dark and its a sublime joy to

overcome such major odds, both then and now. Perhaps, now I, along with my deserving

friends and [former] clients, we and our families all will be able to find some peace of mind

and also, some much needed true rest..."

In closing, knowing his friend has not been feeling well recently, Olivito concludes;

"If I could, I would dedicate this case's outcome to my long time acquaintance

and special brother in arms, Skip Mixon and his all too vigilant but very astute

and sincere cohort, Mr. Dan Thorne Sr. I would have to add to this mix, even my

own father, Dominick Olivito Sr. whose support has been just as long and deep

as life itself.

Together, we, with God's grace, and by some dedicated local medical

doctors who cared early on enough to not allow such a serious injury as this son's

to go unaddressed, made sure this case into real geniune article and in doing so,

along the way, the same truly became a labor of love between some 'old' civil

rights warriors, a few small circle of friends and supporters and one very

dedicated and loving father.

"I only would hope the present U.S. Justice Department would be ready in the

future, to do the kind of heavy lifting that those I know have done inside this

case's record so that there are no further such similiar serious incidents arising

out of this all too battled-scarred city as this which have taken such a deep toll

on those close to the same, but especially a young man like Dan Thorne Jr. and

his family."